One of the most exciting parts of being in an organization on campus is the opportunity to take trips with your group. Organizations on campus have gone to Louisiana, Florida and even Myrtle Beach, S.C. This past week, the Sam Houston State University chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America went to Washington, D.C. for the Public Relations Society of America National Conference.
This is the first time in several years the SHSU chapter of the organization has been able to go to the conference with help from the Public Relations Society of America in Houston and SHSU Student Services who funded their hotel stay during the trip.
The conference provides networking opportunities and workshops for the public relations field. It is a place for students to develop professional skills and meet other students from across the nation.
“I expected to learn more about public relations firsthand from PR professionals at the sessions, meet students from other PRSSA chapters across the nation and explore Washington, D.C. with our chapter,” chapter President Misti Jones said. “Most of all, we were all hoping to gain knowledge about how to expand our chapter’s reach and increase engagement with our members.”
The experience itself turned out to be more than expected in terms of bonding the chapter members together and learning about their chosen field, according to Jones.
“I don’t even think we could have anticipated just how much of an impact this trip would have on us,” Jones said. “We all learned so much at the informational sessions and we had a great time bonding with each other. As our PRSSA Vice President Chris Young put it, ‘I went to D.C. with some people I knew and I came back with my best friends.’”
Students visited different agencies in D.C. to experience what it is like working in a real life firm. The institutions included Allison+Partners, APCO Worldwide, Burson-Marsteller and many others.
“I was fortunate enough to visit the Pentagon with a small group of people,” Jones said of her own experience. “We had the opportunity to talk to the Navy’s social media specialists and hear about the strategies and tactics they use for posting social media content.
The conference helped students to better understand different specializations in their field such as entertainment, sports, healthcare and crisis management among others. Students also had the opportunity to learn about marketing tools and building relationships with the media from keynote speakers.
Along with gaining real world experience, students went to chapter development sessions where they learned how to better run their chapter of the organization.
PRSSA attends many professional luncheons, agency tours, seminars and conferences in various cities to help their members to network and gain knowledge in their chosen field. To fund these trips they hold “Oh Snaps!” fundraisers. For $10 attendees are given 3 professional headshots taken by PRSSA members and photographer Logan Hickle.
The fundraiser will be Oct. 27 and 29 from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. and Oct. 28 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Dan Rather Communications Building Studio B.