Outside the Square (OTS)

Pro-bono PR for not-for-profit organisations
A Practice Lab for budding PR professionals

Each year – from July to November - AUT’s senior and postgraduate PR students run a  Public Relations Agency called Outside the Square (OTS). This unique programme has helped many not-for-profit organisations achieve excellent PR results often for little or no budget.

Working in teams of 4 - 5, the students can draw up and implement a strategic communication plan, generate publicity, plan an event, stunt or fundraising activity, news releases or newsletters or even launch a product. They’ll tackle anything with energy and enthusiasm.

They work on a voluntary basis, and only with not-for-profit clients, or in partnership with a PR consultancy. The projects should be ones they can ‘own’ from the start and complete in the second semester time frame. Projects are assigned by the end of June each year.

Senior AUT Communications staff and a board of professional external PR mentors closely monitor students’ work.

OTS projects regularly win PRINZ Awards for  for professionalism and successful outcomes, and the number of repeat clients is testimony to their success.

Some happy clients…

Some of the projects handled successfully by students over the past two years include:

  • driving a campaign to attract more male mentors for children whose parents are in prison,

  • organising a week of activities and an awards event for Elevator, which finds work for people with disabilities,
  • planning a ‘Wheels at Work’ initiative which saw staff at some large companies spend a day in a wheelchair to understand the problems faced by people with spinal injuries;

  • helping Tear Fund with its ‘live below the line’ campaign which also raised $70,000 to combat sex slavery in Asia;

  • launching Miss Career,  a networking and support group for young women entering the workforce

  • planning and implementing a campaign to prevent young pregnant Maori women from smoking

To register your interest as a client, or for further information, please submit your brief or email ots@aut.ac.nz          

OTS is New Zealand’s only student based public relations consultancy offering pro-bono assistance to recognised not-for-profit organisations nationwide. Over the years it has built up an enviable reputation as a highly effective hot-house teaching laboratory preparing dozens of today’s brightest young practitioners for the challenges of working in the communications industry.

Last updated: 28-Oct-2016 4.43pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.