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Eastern Kentucky University’s student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has been named the Outstanding Campus Chapter for Region 5, which includes Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. This is the third time in seven years Eastern’s SPJ has won the award.

SPJ has 12 regions, and the winner in each becomes a finalist for the national Outstanding Campus Chapter award, to be announced at the Excellence in Journalism conference Sept. 17-21 in New Orleans.

The chapter adviser is Dr. Ginny Whitehouse, journalism professor in the Department of Communication.

“The students worked very hard last year under the leadership of presidents KaLeigh Underwood and Kelli Stokes to create programs that had an impact on campus and within the community,” Whitehouse said.

Underwood, a 2016 graduate from Olive Hill, served as president in Spring 2016. Stokes, a Fall 2015 graduate from Lexington, was president in Fall 2015.

EKU SPJ hosted several events during the year, including a full-day Reporting on Fracking workshop attended by government officials, industry representatives, environmental activists and professional and student journalists. The group also organized the First Amendment Celebration, a week-long annual event on EKU’s campus.

"I am particularly proud that the SPJ chapter has won this award three of the past seven years — so this is no fluke,” said Department of Communication Chair Pam Parry. “This award for our SPJ chapter is indicative of the kind of journalism we teach. We are equipping our students to make a difference in the world."