By Daniel Henderson
Last weekend, fifteen PRSSA Kent members loaded up their cars and departed for Indianapolis. This year's annual PRSSA National Conference, "The Crossroads of public relations," offered a lot for students to think about and bring back to their classes here in Kent. Friday morning was filled with agency tours, where students got a firsthand look at the PR activities of companies like Eli Lilly, Hiron, NCAA, and more. Resume critiques were offered, and our fellow PRSSA Chapters from Drake University, Ohio University, Eastern Michigan, and Rowan University presented on topics ranging from how to effectively manage a student run firm, to how to be a great PRSSA leader. Saturday and Sunday provided students the opportunity to learn from PR professionals at the center of the industry right now.
These sessions were in depth analyses of different PR fields, and how we can prepare for a successful future in public relations. More specifics on the rich content form these sessions will be covered in detail on PRSSA Kent's blog from the students who attended them. PRSA, our parent organization, held their annual national conference right next door and offered general sessions for PRSSA students to attend and hear inspirational presentations from keynote speakers. Derreck Kayongo, the CEO of the Center for Civil and Human Rights, reminded us the power PR professional's hold to affect worldwide global change for good, and how effective and targeted communication about the world’s problems helps spark to solutions to those problems. Following Kayongo, United States Astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent a year in space, spoke about his time in space and how communication and PR pros are needed to help keep the public invested in projects that will redefine humanities place in the universe. Monday morning was another PRSA general session from Theresa Payton, former Chief Information Officer for the White House and President of Fortalice Solutions. Payton's expertise on cyber security gave everyone pause about how safe our information actually is in the age of social media, and how often we put ourselves at risk. Mark Emmert sat down for a live interview about the NCAA following Payton's presentation, and gave interesting insight into the workings of the NCAA and how it handles the PR problems that arise from having 19,000 teams operating within your brand.
PRSSA Kent left conference with its fair share of recognition for successes over the last year. Hanna Moore and Brenna Parker with both recognized as recipients of the Presidential Citation and the immediate past president Gabrielle Woodard was awarded the Golden Key award. PRSSA Kent as an organization received the Teahan award for its efforts in diversity. Overall a successful trip to the crossroads of America for our members, and we look forward to next year’s annual conference in Boston.
Daniel Henderson is a senior public relations major and is PRSSA Kent's treasurer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.