Category Archives: Conferences

#PRinGR: Doing the right thing

By: Nicole Raymond

Conferences are a great way to build a network in your related field, but they also provide information to help you succeed and better yourself as a professional in your career. The Generation Grand Regional Public Relations Student Society of America Conference was full of networking and learning opportunities for students from across the region. The weekend-long event consisted of tours, networking opportunities, sessions, and panels on several different facets of public relations.

While there were several sessions with amazing learning opportunities throughout the weekend, I decided to focus on the Saturday morning sessions, which were titled “PR for the Earth: Green Thinking” and “PR for a Better World: Corporate Responsibility.”


Photo Credit: GVSU Twitter

“PR for the Earth: Green Thinking” was moderated by Adam Russo from COM 161 and was filled with professionals from organizations that were serious about sustainability. This session focused on how organizations can make an impact in their community and in their world by rooting the idea of sustainability in their business culture and the effects of sustainable practices on an organization’s bottom line. Sharon Darby from Cascade Engineering stated that if you do what is good for the environment and the people, it will be good for business. However, another panelist Josh Leffingwell from Well Design Studio says that it is no longer newsworthy when organizations do good, rather it is a baseline that an organization must go above and beyond to be recognized by the media. People want sustainable products made by sustainable companies and many consumers will search for these sustainable practices and buy from organizations that have a sustainable commitment. When it comes to sustainability, there is always more that can be done and there is always room for improvement. Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in a society that votes with their money on the most sustainable organizations and products. When an organization commits to a culture of sustainable practices it will bring in customers and build a business.

panel 2

Courtesy Photo

The second session was “PR for a Better World: Corporate Responsibility” moderated by Dino Baskovic from Vincena and was paneled by Stacie Behler from Meijer, Michelle Meulendyk from Amway, Audra Hartges from Steelcase, and Kelley Freridge from Wolverine World Wide. This session outlined why corporate responsibility is important for organizations and how those organizations can choose the corporate responsibility initiative that is right for them and the communities in which they reside. Community development is the footprint that is left behind. One of the first questions was “Why should corporate social responsibility be a priority of organizations?” Meulendyk answered by stating if we don’t, then who will?

Another ‘why’ factor of corporate responsibility is it’s the right thing and organizations should always be willing to do what is right. Consumers are creating a culture where corporate responsibility matters and not just talking, but doing and seeing the impact through the bottom line, social and feedback. Each community is different and Behler explained the importance of doing good in the community by matching community needs to the acts of service or donations provided to the community by businesses. Panelists were also asked how to help employees think of corporate social responsibility and the desire to make the community a better place by their employees. They explained that it was important to instill a culture of service within the work community and hire those who already have that culture instilled in them.

The earth and the community are important to our society and can play an important role in the money making ability of an organization. As more consumers care about how their products were made, it has become more important for businesses to practice green thinking and corporate responsibility.

Nicole Raymond is senior majoring in public relations and double minoring in marketing and communications. This is her first year serving on EMU PRSSA’s E-Board as VP of External Relations. Nicole is a wife, aunt, daughter, sister and friend. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @nicoleraymond74.

3 reasons why you should attend Regional Conference

By: Andrea Mellendorf


Image courtesy of EMU PRSSA on Facebook (EMU PRSSA at Regional Conference last year, hosted by Wayne State University).

Regional Conference is just around the corner! What is Regional Conference, you might be wondering? Regional Conference is an opportunity to hear from speakers and panelists from the public relations industry, network with your peers and professionals, and travel to a new place!

Regional Conferences take place all over the United States—you can check all of them out here. The Regional Conference closest to us this year is in April, hosted by Grand Valley State University and Ferris State University. Having a hard time deciding whether you should attend? Here are three reasons why attending a Regional Conference is a great idea:

  1. Networking

Regional Conferences are an awesome opportunity to start to get to know people in your field. Use this opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your fellow Chapter members, get to know public relations peers from around the country, and even network with professionals in the industry.

  1. Educational value.

Enhance your experience in the classroom by supplementing your coursework with a day at a professional conference. You will hear first-hand about some of the challenges, successes, failures and joys that professionals in the industry have experienced. Learn from their mistakes and what they wish they would have known, and apply that knowledge to your own PR journey!

  1. Travel

Regional Conferences are held all over the country, so attending one is your opportunity to see a new place! For example, the Generation Grand: PR in GR conference is held in Grand Rapids, Mich., which happens to be one of the greatest cities on Earth, and my hometown.

Overall, Regional Conferences are the perfect opportunity for you to continue to grow as a student and as a public relations professional. Be sure to check out all of the Regional Conference opportunities available to you, and pick one to attend!

Andrea Mellendorf is a senior and serves as the Chapter President for EMU PRSSA. She previously has served as the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Special Events and Programs for EMU PRSSA, and as an intern for the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. Andrea currently is the Social Media Operator for The Honors College where she manages their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and for the College of Arts and Sciences, where she manages their Facebook and Twitter. Connect with Andrea on Twitter – @AndreaMell!

PRSSA Regional Conference in April! Learn more here!

There will be a PRSSA Regional Conference on April 7 through April 9 in Grand Rapids, Mich. Grand Valley State University and Ferris State University are hosting the conference, “Generation Grand: Experience PR in GR.” According to the event’s website, guests will hear about a variety of topics, including corporate responsibility, green thinking, place and space making, keeping talent in the Midwest, maintaining a creative community, and much more.

The conference’s schedule and registration details can be found here.

All Access Digital Conference on April 15!

Central Michigan University’s PRSSA chapter will be hosting the All Access Digital Conference Friday, April 15 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. According to the Eventbrite page, “This conference will feature digital experts from Edelman,, General Motors and others” (source).

Tickets for the event can be purchased here. More information, including a schedule of the day, speaker bios, and registration information, can be found here.

PRSSA Regional Conference in March! Learn more here!

There will be a PRSSA Regional Conference on March 18 and 19 in Detroit. Michigan State University and Wayne State University are hosting the conference, “The Tale of Our City: PR’s Role in Detroit’s Revitalization.” According to the event’s website, “MSU and WSU PRSSA Chapters’ goal is to educate students and professionals on how to change an entity’s image on a macro level and the opportunities Detroit has to offer them in the professional world” (source).

A mixer will be held March 18 and the conference will be held March 19. Admission for the mixer is $10. PRSSA member conference admission is $30, and $35 for non-members.

The conference’s schedule can be found here. Information on admission and the link to buy tickets can be found here.

The College of Business’ Search Marketing Workshop Recap

By: Danita Tatum

Keynote Speaker Jon Beebe  Source: photo from @klavaute

Keynote Speaker Jon Beebe
Source: photo from @klavaute

On Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, I had the pleasure of attending the Search Marketing Workshop, which brought together professionals, professors and students so they could hear about digital marketing success stories and strategies. The keynote speaker for the conference was Jon Beebe (@JonBeebe), who handles Digital Strategy and Integration for GM. He discussed the significance of big data, how it’s organized, and how it’s used in marketing. It was extremely educational and interesting.

After Beebe’s speech and a short Q&A, I moved on to one of the two workshops, “Search and Social, Making it Work Together” and “Effective Search Campaigns.” I attended the “Effective Search Campaigns” workshop, which consisted of three speakers: Angelina Miller (@aevergari) of iProspect, Chris Kujawksi (@themetricsguru) of Hanson Inc., and Matt Laurin (@mlaurin) of General RV. Each speaker talked about the strategies they used in order to maximize traffic to their organization’s website or specific pages of information. During this workshop, I learned the following:

  • Try to avoid having your organization fall under general search results. For instance, if you’re working for a law firm that handles family law, then you wouldn’t want your business to pop up when someone searches “attorney in Michigan,” but you would want your business to pop up when someone searches “divorce attorney in Michigan.”
  • Don’t sleep on when buying search words. Apparently, approximately 20 percent of people in the U.S use Bing as their search engine.

I also had the choice of attending “The Fusion of Everything: When All Media Becomes Digital” and “Effective Social Campaigns.” I decided to attend the “Effective Social Campaigns” workshop, which was very insightful. David Murray (@DaveMurr) of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Kelly Lavaute (@Klavaute) of FleishmanHillard, and Taylor Hulyk (@TaylorHulyk) of re:group discussed effective social media campaigns they had implemented and strategies and resources that could be used when working on a campaign. This workshop was really educational and taught me the following:

  • Pareto’s rule in action involves getting your consumers/followers engaged in what you’re doing and having them participate in the campaign/contest.
  • Know your audience.
  • When you are having any sort of contest involving a third party app provider, do your research and be able to read contracts. Also, lawyers are useful too.

Although I did not attend the “Search and Social…” workshop, I heard it was great. The speakers for that workshop were: Susan Emerick (@sfemerick) of Brands Rising, Jeff Alderman of Universal McCann, and Sean Hickey of PWB. The other workshop I missed was the “Fusion of Everything…” workshop, which featured Chad Wiebesick (@Wiebesick), Director of Social Media and Interactive Marketing for Pure Michigan and the executive for EMU’s Center for Digital Engagement. Everyone at the conference also tweeted about the event using #emudigital, so if you’d like to learn more great tips or see photos from the conference, feel free to check it out on Twitter.

Danita Tatum is a senior majoring in public relations with a minor in psychology program. She is the Vice President of Professional Development for EMU-PRSSA. Danita also works as a writing tutor at the University Writing Center and manages a PR blog of her own.

15 free tickets for Digital Summit Detroit available through Michigan Film Office contest

Michigan Film Office is giving away 15 free tickets to Digital Summit Detroit! The conference will be held on September 22 and 23 and will cover topics like social media, web design, and e-mail marketing. Students interested in attending should visit the Michigan Film Office website  and explain “why you are interested in digital media and what the Film and Digital Media office can do to support this industry in Michigan.” The contest closes on Sept. 11, and winners will be notified by Sept. 15.

For more information, click here.