By: Amelia Workman
Every other Wednesday at Kent State University’s Franklin Hall, students meet from many different majors and backgrounds to share their love for the public relations and communications field. Smiles fill the room, as members seek to grow as aspiring communications professionals.
Kent State’s Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is a pre-professional public relations organization open to students of any major, with meetings focused on many different topics centered around public relations. The Kent Chapter won “Chapter of the Year” at the 2019 International PRSSA Conference and continues to make a name for itself on a national level. Faculty advisor Michele Ewing, has provided direction to the organization for 16 years.
“The PRSSA Kent students invest countless hours to serve members, the campus and community. It was rewarding to see their dedication and work recognized," Ewing said.
Meeting topics frequently discussed include: networking, landing an internship, LinkedIn workshops and the many different sectors of PR. Members meet with professionals to learn more about the growing industry. PRSSA members have gained countless opportunities from the organization, as well as the ability to obtain leadership positions.
Sam Farland, a junior public relations student at Kent State, holds the position of Web and Social Media Manager. She was elected last year and manages the organization’s social media platforms and website. She said PRSSA gave her the opportunity to possess leadership skills.
“PRSSA has given me the tools to succeed in the PR industry. This knowledge has helped me define my career path and figure out my true purpose in life.”
Students not only gain industry knowledge and skills at the meetings, but also at the international conference and other events. Last year, members traveled to San Diego to attend the PRSSA International Conference. Conference panels included topics such as personal branding, crisis communication, celebrity PR and much more. They were also able to attend conference sessions with renowned people such as Bob Woodward, Associate Editor at The Washington Post; Laura Ling, award-winning journalist and Vincente Fox, former President of Mexico.
Public relations is a growing industry. Employers value content creation, personal branding and enhanced communication skills. Professors like Ewing stress the importance of the industry to students and members of PRSSA. She even highlights the importance of the field during crises like the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“Public relations offers the opportunity to make meaningful differences for nonprofit organizations, social causes, corporations and many other organizations." Ewing said. "We’re advocates to help people, causes and companies. Just look at the value of communication during the COVID-19 pandemic-PR professionals are developing and managing communication to keep people safe.”
PRSSA allows students to meet new people who help them continue their journeys throughout college. Every major is welcome to attend the meetings and have the option to become a dues-paying member. Meetings are held every other Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in 213 Franklin Hall. You can contact VP of Membership, Ally Viano with any questions. To join you can also apply here.
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