by Cindy Deng
We have been waiting for this moment for years, and the day finally came. PRSSA Kent received the Outstanding Chapter Award at the 2014 PRSSA National Conference in Washington, D.C.! This is the highest Chapter honor, presented by the National Committee as part of the Dr. F.H. Teahan Chapter Awards Program.
My emotions were running high that day. Being recognized at a national level was absolutely incredible for our Chapter. Why? PRSSA consists of more than 300 Chapters across the nation. Some of these Chapters do apply for awards and only a handful of them get selected.
Since The Teahan Awards application must be submitted by the first week of June, submissions are based on that completed academic year’s accomplishments. The Teahan Awards honor Chapters for accomplishments in the following categories.
Our Chapter certainly accomplished a lot during the 2013-14 academic year, and I’m proud to have led such an amazing year with a strong team of leaders and members. Based on our meeting evaluations, 88 percent of the participants felt PRSSA Kent was a welcoming organization, which was a 21 percent increase from fall 2012.
A few other notable accomplishments include securing 64 renewed/new members (compared with 59 renewed/current members during the 2012-13 academic year), earning honorable mention in the Bateman Case Study Competition (and 2nd place the previous year), collaborating with Akron Area and Greater Cleveland PRSA on more than 15 meetings and five special events, raising $7,750 to send members to National Conference and more.
A wave of excitement came over me when the National Committee announced Kent State University as the winner. You can confirm this with anyone who attended the awards dinner ceremony, but I literally ran and skipped my way over to the stage to receive the award on PRSSA Kent’s behalf. I probably could have knocked the wind out of PRSSA National President Heather Harder after giving her an enormous bear hug. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw our Chapter run toward me to reciprocate the hug. I completely lost my composure and bawled my eyes out with tears of joy!
I’ve been a member of PRSSA Kent for about three and a half years. Two and a half of those years I’ve held several leadership positions and worked closely with fellow members pouring my heart and soul into the activities we do every year. Without the encouragement and support from fellow members, faculty members and PRSA members, we would not have been able to make it this far and earn this much recognition today. We can, now, respectfully brag about being the top Chapter in the nation!
Special thanks go out to the 2013-14 executive board (Cindy Deng, Chapter President; Bobby Batyko, VP of Professional Relations; Caitlin Potts, Secretary; Meghan Caprez, Web & Content Creator; Kirsten Bowers, Intercampus Liaison; Emily Komorowski, PRSA/PRSSA Liaison; Bethany Johnson, Community Relations Manager; Matt Gilkerson, Social Media Manager; Chelsea Graff, Treasurer; Lyndsey Sager and Samantha Tuly, Co-VPs of Public Relations; Shannen Laur and Amanda Knauer, Co-VPs of Fundraising; Michael Lopick and Erica Batyko, Co-VPs of Membership) and professional advisers (Carrie Kandes, Lindsay Ridinger, Allison Ewing, Tim Roberts, Jenn Yokely-McElhatten, Erin Orsini) who contributed their time and effort in helping PRSSA Kent earn this honorable recognition.
And last, but not least, another special thanks goes out to our Faculty Adviser Michele Ewing. She’s truly the backbone (our support system) to our Chapter’s professional development and success.
I could not be any more proud of PRSSA Kent. We absolutely earned it!