Anderson University is proud to announce the introduction of its own chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). This pre-professional organization offers public relations students the opportunity to learn about their field, network with professionals, and grow as public relations practitioners.
“PRSSA is a pre-professional society that accomplishes several things for students,” said faculty advisor Rebecca Fuller Beeler, assistant professor of communication arts. “First, it allows them to network with each other, future PR professionals, and with professionals working in the field. Second, it gives members of our chapter access to resources like industry publications and online job postings. Third, membership in a university’s chapter earns the student a reduced membership rate when they graduate and join the Public Relations Society of America.” [Photo on left: PRSSA members pose with professional advisor Andrea Farmer.]
This organization meets every three to four weeks for one hour. Sessions include guest speakers, résumé workshops, interviewing exercises, and trips to public relations agencies in Indianapolis. The professional advisor for the AU Chapter is Andrea Farmer, APR, account manager at Borshoff, a full-service communications agency in Indianapolis. AU Director of University Communications and Community Relations Chris Williams also works with the group as staff advisor.
During the first semester, AU’s PRSSA chapter was visited by various public relations professionals from the Indianapolis area. These guests shared details about their jobs and what they look for when they hire interns. This offers students a chance to learn about the profession while also offering them a valuable chance for networking in the professional realm.
“For many students, trying to figure out what to do after graduation can be terrifying,” said PRSSA Treasurer Matt Dougherty, a senior public relations and marketing major. “By being a part of PRSSA, students can get a better idea of what they need to do to begin their careers. By networking, attending seminars, and working on résumés, it is almost as if PRSSA gives public relations students a roadmap to success.”
In February, the chapter will travel to Purdue University to attend a regional PRSSA conference. This conference will allow students to learn from professionals with whom they are not currently connected. This will also be a strong opportunity for students to network with other students and professionals. In the future, the group hopes to conduct various fundraisers that will allow them to attend other conferences hosted by PRSSA as well as PRSA.
“This year, we hope that members will learn and benefit from our meetings so that they are more prepared for the workforce after they graduate,” said PRSSA President Alyssa Applegate, a senior public relations major. “My hope is also to give members a chance to network with the professionals we bring in to expand their resources for internships and potential jobs.”
According to Applegate, the greatest benefit of joining this pre-professional society is becoming more prepared for the professional world. By hearing presentations by professionals, students are able to determine if public relations is something that they wish to pursue. Another benefit is the ability to learn from the mistakes and successes of current professionals.
“As members, we want to learn to be more rounded and educated as individuals from others who have worked in the field and can give us tips,” said PRSSA member Kayla Meid, a junior public relations and theatre arts major. “We also want to feel more experienced before heading into the workforce.” According to Meid, this organization gives excellent advice for the professional world while bringing AU’s public relations majors together on a common ground.
For more information on this pre-professional organization, email questions to PRSSA@anderson.edu.
— Kelly Gualdoni is a junior from Fort Wayne, Ind., majoring in communication arts. Gualdoni is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America’s top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.