Category Archives: PRSSA

Things I gained from PRSSA E-Board

By: Andrea Mellendorf

The past four years have been a wild ride. Four years of college have been busy and filled with classes, jobs, homework, fun, and of course, PRSSA. Serving on the PRSSA E-Board for three years has given me countless opportunities to build my portfolio and resume, and network with students and professionals from around the world. With E-Board elections next week, I thought I would share a few things I’ve gained from serving on E-Board:

  1. Connections

Being on E-Board has connected me with student leaders on campus, as well as professionals from the area and from the public relations industry, and universities around the world. These connections have helped connect me to opportunities in the field and mentors who truly care about my professional growth and experiences.

  1. Leadership experience.

Yeah, it might be a cliche, but E-Board has taught me how to serve as a leader in a productive and respectable way. Working as a team for a common goal is a very valuable aspect of public relations, and something that I experienced and enhanced as a member of E-Board.

  1. Conference experience.

Being on E-Board has opened up opportunities to travel to conferences all over the country. From regional conferences here in the state to national events in Atlanta,  Austin, Texas and coming up in Seattle, becoming more involved with PRSSA has provided opportunities that I never thought were possible.

  1. Lifelong friends.

PRSSbAes, enough said.

PRSSA

Courtesy Photo

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!

3 reasons why you should attend Regional Conference

By: Andrea Mellendorf

emu-prssa-at-regional-conference

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.

The struggle with recruiting

By: Nikki Mikolon

the-struggle-with-recruiting

Photo created by Nikki Mikolon using Canva

Every organization focuses on recruiting whether it’s a school or sorority. All groups want more people to join their membership to be able to share their experiences with others. These organizations want to scream to the sky why they are the best fit for each individual.

Recently, our PRSSA Chapter attended the Winter Festival for organizations on Eastern Michigan University’s campus to recruit new members of the student body. Students, new and current, come to the event to check out the two hundred and one organizations at EMU.

Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Chapters all over the nation struggle with recruiting new members, especially small Chapters like EMU’s. How does one convince a college student that joining a “professional development” organization is more beneficial than just for his or her resume?

The national site for PRSSA does list some ways to help with recruiting new members, but here are some reasons why joining PRSSA changed my college experience:

1. Adventure

Joining PRSSA with EMU and other Chapters across the country gives students the opportunity to explore their studies, the PR field, and even the world! Since joining PRSSA, I have been able to visit more than half a dozen pubic relations firms and other agencies. I have also been able to travel to the National Conference in Indianapolis and other members have traveled to Texas and Alabama with PRSSA.

prssa-indy

EMU PRSSA at National Conference 2016

2. Skill builder.

As a member of PRSSA, I have had the pleasure to be on the executive board in a couple of different positions. These positions have given me endless opportunities to benefit from. Through these positions, I now have experience with blog writing, working with other professionals in the field, and even event planning. This organization has also given me the opportunity to speak at the National Conference and give a professional presentation in front of many other members in the society.

Being part of the PRSSA Bateman Competition is also a great “resume” builder. Bateman gives members like myself a chance to put together, and most importantly, execute a PR campaign for the chosen client.

red-carpet-prssa

EMU PRSSA at National Conference 2016

3. Lifelong connections.

One of the most important benefits one receives from joining a “professional development” organization like PRSSA is the lasting relationships fostered along the way. Being a commuter, it is hard to “fit in” or find a place at a university. It is human nature to want to be a part of something, and being in PRSSA, myself and other members have found their place with people aspiring to the same goals. Not only have I found lifelong friends through PRSSA, but I have also made professional connections that I would not have without this organization.

social-outing

EMU PRSSA at Wiard’s social outing

The moral of the story is, just because an organization is meant to be professional, doesn’t mean that it isn’t fun or comes without its perks. Thank you to the society for all the opportunities to prosper and thank you to the friends made along the way that made my experiences even better.

Nikki Mikolon is a senior majoring in public relations and minoring in marketing. As a Detroit native, she hopes to spend her beginning years working for the city and being a part of its renaissance. Connect with Nikki on Twitter @nikkimikolon.

National Conference from my eyes

By: Nikki Mikolon

national-conference

Photo created by Nikki Mikolon using Canva

Hundreds of students across the country, and even some from Peru paid a visit to Indianapolis at the end of October for the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) National Conference.

The energy in the city over the five days of National Conference was high as PR students from all over dressed their best to meet and mingle with fellow students and PR professionals in the field.

A national-level event in the society is different from events held at Chapter levels; even regional conferences don’t quite match up to the precedent that the National Conference sets for the society.

A reoccurring theme this year that was mentioned countless times at agency tours and workshops, and was reiterated at National Conference, was the idea of uniqueness. According to Dictionary.com, to be unique is “having no like or equal; unparalleled; or incomparable.”

We as a Chapter do not quite do things exactly like the society as a whole or other Chapters, and this is due to the fact that we are unique.

This type of uniqueness does not mean that we cannot compare. The Eleanor Wright EMU PRSSA Chapter operates in different ways and has a significantly smaller Chapter than many that we encountered at National Conference; this is not to say that we don’t have something different to bring to the table.

Myself and two other members of EMU PRSSA had the pleasure of presenting a Chapter development session on the first day of the conference. We were pleased to learn that many of the topics we discussed intrigued many other Chapters, as they wanted to take back our ideas to their Chapters and implement our processes. This brings me to my next point.

EMU PRSSA is different than other Chapters, as we as individuals are distinct from one another. Sure we are learning similar course material, general procedures, and skills needed to succeed in the PR field. But the biggest takeaway from National Conference is that as we are reaching near the end of our education, there is no right or wrong way to go. There is no cookie cutter key to success to do well in this business. Of course, there are the several skills repeated to us over and over again, such as being good writers, staying curious and networking with people. These are all skills that are going to get us far in our careers, but the greatest thing about PR is that we are allowed to be unique.

Being unique is what will set us apart from all those who believe they live and breath PR. The nature of PR is unpredictable. We need those unique people and unique perspectives that will bring new ideas to the table. We need those crazy ideas that someone may go with and say, “That just might work!”

In the realm of PR, it always seems like there is a checklist of things that aspiring practitioners need to be “successful.” But on the flip side, the idea of uniqueness has been changing my own perspective on the topic.

The uniqueness of PR is the reason why it is so hard to define. It is also the reason why I fell in love with it. We are individuals with contrasting likes, dislikes and passions. There is no one way to be successful in PR. There are so many branches of the field and something for everyone, no matter who you are. As long as you have the right mindset, you are destined to go far in the field wherever you may fit in.

In closing, as students or practicing practitioners, don’t try too hard to fit in. Find what fits you best and make it your own.

Nikki Mikolon is a senior majoring in public relations and minoring in marketing. As a Detroit native, she hopes to spend her beginning years working for the city and being a part of its renaissance. Connect with Nikki on Twitter @nikkimikolon.

Rebranding like a girl: What we can learn from Vera Bradley

By: Andrea Mellendorf

vera-bradley

Source: underconsideration.com

At the 2016 PRSSA National Conference, I had the awesome opportunity to attend a session about corporate rebranding, led by Holly Wagner from Vera Bradley. Now, if you’ve ever seen me around campus or been in my apartment, you’ve probably noticed that I’m a huge Vera fan, so of course I was not going to pass up the opportunity to hear from one of my favorite brands. What I expected to be a presentation that piqued my interest because of the brand itself, turned into some of the most valuable rebranding lessons ever shared with me.

In her presentation, Holly highlighted some really important key points to keep in mind when developing, redeveloping and critiquing your brand. These are things that her team discussed, discovered and took to heart during the “It’s Good to be a Girl” campaign sponsored by Vera Bradley that launched in August. Here are a few:

  • You are never just marketing to your target audience—you are marketing to everyone and hoping it reaches the target audience in an effective way.
  • Want to be relevant? Better be engaging with millennials.
  • Drive your brand visibility through multiple platforms and opportunities.
  • Engage, engage, engage! Loyal stakeholders are created through engagement.
  • Create social energy surrounding your brand.

In addition to these key tidbits, Holly mentioned more than once that “everything has a beautiful solution.” She used this phrase in reference to the problems that the rebrand was trying to address. Though they were indeed problems, Holly’s team elected to look at them as opportunities that held the potential to have a beautiful, better and fruitful solution. As an up-and-coming practitioner, this positivity during times of change or adaptation is one that I look forward to bringing to my workplace.

In the presentation, rebranding was also described as “an evolution, not a revolution.” So often, brands lose every element of their genuine selves while attempting to reinvent their product, service or social strategy, which in the end confuses, upsets or loses the attention of stakeholders. Vera Bradley viewed their rebrand as an evolution of their brand as they grow to the next big thing.

So not only is Vera Bradley a company that sells adorable and practical backpacks and accessories for me as a college student, they also provide top-notch lessons in rebranding and public relations to me as a student. I look forward to someday entering a career with an awesome Vera bag and useful knowledge of rebranding!

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!

Why I’m excited for National Conference—and you should be too

By: Josie Bobeck

This October, the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) will be holding the organization’s National Conference in Indianapolis, and I could not be more excited! The theme of the conference this year is “Crossroads of Public Relations,” which is appropriate since PR is so broad. Here are four reasons why I’m excited for this year’s conference.

 1. Traveling!

I’ve always heard so many wonderful things about Indy. I’m excited to get to experience a new city with a student organization I’m so passionate about with people that I love spending time with.

2. Conference sessions.

So many interesting presentations will be held by the best of the best in the industry, which could not be more beneficial. Sessions include nonprofit PR, the tourism industry, creating effective campaigns, entertainment PR in the Midwest, blogging, and event planning—just to name a handful!

3. Networking.

Between all of the PRSSA members and industry professionals, it’s almost impossible not to make connections with those who could be future employers or colleagues in the industry. If you don’t have business cards, now is a good time to make some!

4. Presenting!

This is the first time the EMU Eleanor Wright Chapter of PRSSA has ever presented at National Conference, and while I’m super nervous to be one of three executive board members presenting (shout out to Andrea and Nikki—we make a great team), it will be a wonderful experience. The goal is to inspire other Chapters, which will be easy breezy!

National Conference is going to be a great experience, and I could not be more fortunate to be able to attend! To learn more, visit http://prssa.prsa.org/events/Conference/.

Josie Bobeck is a junior majoring in public relations with a double minor in electronic media and film studies, and marketing, and serves as VP of Member Relations in PRSSA. She hopes to one day work in the entertainment/pop culture industry. Josie loves her dogs, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and has freckles on her arm shaped like the little dipper. You can connect with her on Twitter at @JosieBobeckPR.