Student-led PR firm organizes event celebrating historic Brookhaven community

Four students standing next to a table set up in Town Brookhaven with a large sign that read "Out In the Open. Do you feel included in Brookhaven? Why or why not?" The table has pens and paper slips and granola bars.

Weltner Consulting Agency students in Town Brookhaven for their “Out in the Open” event, where they asked Brookhaven residents if they felt included in the community

Oglethorpe’s student-led public relations firm, the Weltner Consulting Agency, recently hosted an event celebrating the historic Brookhaven community, Lynwood Park.

The firm has worked closely with its client and Oglethorpe trustee emeritus, Arnold Sidman, for the past two years. Students’ work for Mr. Sidman focuses on raising awareness about intercultural communication and diversity in the greater Brookhaven community.

As a part of their campaign, the agency organized an event called “Lynwood Park Foundation: A Living Legacy.”

Before and after pictures of Lynwood Park. The "before" is a black and white image of Lynwood School in 1955 and the "after" shows the school today, now the Lynwood Community Center.

The Lynwood Community Center was once the Lynwood School

DeKalb County’s oldest African-American neighborhood, Lynwood Park was recently recognized by the City of Brookhaven as an official historic site. The community is close to Oglethorpe University, and many residents have shared a lifelong connection with the institution. Lynwood Park has also been a victim of the rising gentrification in Atlanta.

“I think working with Lynwood Park is the first step in achieving our goals of highlighting intercultural community and diversity,” says Joslyn Tan, an exchange student from Germany.

“Of course, with the new generation… it is always a challenge to highlight diversity and raise awareness. But combining older folks and younger folks in a common event is a good start to achieve our goals.”

The event, held at the Turner Lynch Campus Center on November 29, marked the opening of a photo gallery featuring historic prints of the Lynwood Park Community. The gallery installation seeks to commemorate and educate the Oglethorpe community about the local neighborhood. Residents also shared oral histories following a cocktail hour.

The firm collaborated with University Librarian Eli Arnold ’06 and Special Advisor to the President for DEI Dr. Rhana Gittens Wheeler on preserving and showcasing the history of this community. Arnold will be teaching an oral history course next semester where students will have the opportunity to complete interviews with some Lynwood Park residents.

Student account executive Tese Ajorgbor speaking to attendees

Account executive Tese Ajorgbor ’24

“This community has suffered at the hands of gentrification, so by highlighting them and their historical legacy, we can open the Brookhaven community to Lynwood Park’s story and continue to make efforts to preserve their rich history,” says Tese Ajorgbor ’24, account executive in the firm.

The Weltner Consulting Agency (WCA) is a strategic communications firm run by students at Oglethorpe with guidance from Dr. Kate Keib, associate professor of communication studies. WCA allows students to work on behalf of clients in the Atlanta area through various real-life job positions in the communications industry. The firm operates as a class that exposes students to work that they can expect to find after graduating college.

“The value the firm has given me by working with our client has been endless,” says Justin Armstrong ’24.

Piece in photo gallery with the heading "The Science and Mathematics Club" featuring Black students at Lynwood Park High School in 1961. Description in image says "President Shirley Price, Vice President Oscar Perry, Sponsors Mrs. R.F. Cameron and Miss R.L. Beatles, Secretary Nancy Scott, and Treasurer Henry Wallace."

Science Club, 1961
Courtesy of Chip Jones and the Lynwood Park Foundation

“As a student in the Business Administration program, I have been able to expand my skills and abilities to those found in communications, such as drafting press releases, creating media lists, and event planning. These are all skills I can take with me into the workplace when I graduate.”

The “Lynwood Park: A Living Legacy” photo gallery is open to the public and the OU Community in the Turner Lynch Campus Center’s Trustee Room. The gallery is on display now through June 30, 2024. For more information, contact the firm at [email protected].

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