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Honors College Student Wins Sesquicentennial Service Award, CW Campaign Competition

As a student in the Manship School of Mass Communication, Claire Biggs earns a bonus point for every article that mentions her name.

With all the headlines she has made lately, the twenty-year-old Honors student is sure to garner an impressive amount of extra credit.

Biggs, a PR major and business minor, was recently selected as one of just ten winners of the Chancellor's Sesquicentennial Service Award, which honors individuals or groups who have gone above and beyond in their service to LSU and the community, while also leading her PR team to victory in the CW Campaign Competition, a national PR competition sponsored by the Public Relations Student Society of America and The CW Television Network.

“It’s very shocking and very humbling,” said the Honors College Junior of her selection as the only undergraduate student to win the Sesquicentennial Service Award. “I’m very passionate about service work, but I try to find organizations that aren’t necessarily service-based and then do service through them.”

From raising money for suicide prevention to speaking out against human trafficking, Claire has worked with a multitude of organizations, including To Write Love On Her Arms, Honors College Advocates, Residence Hall Association (RHA), Helping Others Promote Empowerment (HOPE), Youth Oasis, and Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity.

“I have a lot of ambitions,” said Biggs. “My first two years were definitely about student organizations. (Now) I’m trying to be very cognizant of what I want to do; I’m trying to do what’s best for myself and LSU at this point.”

The Lake Charles native, who graduated as valedictorian of her high school class, currently boasts an impressive 4.0 GPA — even with the rigorous Honors College requirements. Biggs plans on graduating a year early and will be taking 19 hours in the fall and spring in order to do so.

Sesquicentennial Award winners were chosen based on various criteria, including their commitment, impact, and initiative — qualities which also led Biggs’ team “South Hollywood PR” to victory in the CW Competition.

Beating out nineteen other teams, the group of four students — led by Biggs — independently planned and implemented a two-week public relations campaign to promote The CW Television Network’s show, The Vampire Diaries.

Their campaign, entitled “Meet. Prey. Love” involved a live concert, screenings of two unaired episodes of the show, social media contests, a t-shirt decorating event, a week-long blood drive, and makeup students administering “vampire bites.”

But Biggs considers her greatest accomplishment to be completing an internship (a tenet of the Honors College) this past summer in New York City.

Although she had no prior PR experience, Biggs earned a prestigious internship with PMK/BNC, one of the largest entertainment public relations firms in the U.S. After being interviewed by PMK, Biggs was told she could expect an answer in three weeks. She received a phone call just three days later, saying she had won the internship.

“It was the best thing I could have done … I still can’t believe everything that’s happened – I mean, I was on the set of Gossip Girl.”

A lifelong devotee of Vogue and all things couture, Biggs was assigned to the fashion team, working with brands such as Forever 21, Nine West, and American Express. She even participated in the 2010 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and Fashion’s Night Out — the ultimate dream of fashion lovers and PR students alike.

“I had no idea what PR was when I first started. I knew I wanted to write … PR has a very negative public perception (but) it teaches you how to talk to people, meet people … it’s Life Skills 101,” she said. “And you can work in any field and be in PR.”

Surprisingly, Biggs doesn’t consider herself to be an overachiever.

“I feel like I do what I can, but I don’t consider it to be that fantastic,” she said. “I like that the Honors College is very competitive and ambitious … it’s nice to be around highly motivated people who have similar goals as you. There’s no limit to what you can do, I think.” 


Story by Elizabeth Clausen, LSU Honors College

For more information, contact the Honors College at 225-578-8831