Category Archives: PRSSA

Dear PRSSA: Thank you!

By: Andrea Mellendorf

Dear PRSSA,

I’m not sure how to properly thank or say goodbye to an organization that’s given me so much in four years, but here we go.

Thank you for the years or professional development. For the professionals you have introduced me to who have contributed so much to my public relations success. Thank you for the agency tours, the workshops, the conferences, and more. For all of the things that have helped me grow in the profession outside of the classroom.

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Thank you for the mentorship. For introducing me to the people who are some of my most impactful mentors now. For providing relationships that will last a lifetime. For creating a support system to help me navigate this crazy college life and the PR career that will eventually follow.

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Thank you for the countless adventures. From Atlanta to Indianapolis to Austin to Seattle, this has been an adventure even greater than I could have imagined when I first came to a meeting four years ago. I’ve learned so much about myself just through fully immersing myself in this society in all corners of the country.

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Thank you for the challenges. I’ve learned the true art of resiliency and mastered the art of problem solving thanks to you. These have been some of the greatest life lessons and I wouldn’t trade any of the challenges for the world.

Thank you for the scholarship opportunities. Seriously, college is so expensive, so enough said here.

Thank you for the leadership opportunities. Serving this society as Chapter President for the past year+ has been one of my greatest honors. Working with some of the most brilliant student leaders I know has helped me to become a stronger leader, better collaborator, and all around team player.

Thank you for the friendships. For the lifelong PRSSbAes who I know will always be there for me no matter where I go. I can’t wait to watch them thrive in this field and change the world through strategic communication. I know they will do incredible things.

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Thank you for being such a major part of my four years at Eastern Michigan University. For helping me to grow into a better person, stronger leader, and more prepared member of the public relations profession. My PRSSA career may be coming to an end, but I’ll forever and always be a PRSSbAE in my heart.

Sincerely,

Andrea

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!

 

What a great ride it’s been!

By: Jordan Ross

Coming into college, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with my life.

I started college as a computer engineering technology major, before switching to computer science, and then making the drastic leap over to journalism. If that sounded like a whirlwind reading, I can assure you that’s what it felt like living it as well. There were aspects of all of those majors that I really enjoyed, but none of them seemed to have that “it” factor.

Stuck and not knowing exactly what to do, I went to McKenny Hall to talk to an advisor at the University Advising and Career Development Center. While in the lobby waiting for my appointment, I noticed a rack of small handouts that had information about what career paths you could take with different majors. Next to the handout for journalism was a handout for public relations.

At the time, I had only heard sparingly what public relations actually was, but going into the meeting I knew I wanted to learn more about it. That conversation ended up changing my life, and here I am today getting ready to get my degree in public relations.

Four years ago, if you would have told me that I would be graduating college with a degree in public relations, the first thing I would’ve asked was “what the heck is public relations?” But now, I feel like the education I’ve received has prepared me for my next chapter in life.

That education not only applies to within the classroom, thanks to the professors who I could tell truly cared about my education, but also outside of the classroom, thanks to experiences like being in PRSSA.

From being a member who couldn’t even make it to all the meetings due to having a busy work schedule, to being elected the vice president of professional development, my college experience has shown me that anything is possible.

I’ll be continuing my education this upcoming fall semester as a graduate student at Eastern Michigan University, and I can truly say that everything I’ve learned and experienced during my time as an undergrad has prepared me for all that is to come next in my journey.

As you may have heard people say, college isn’t easy. There may be some days where you feel like you can’t do it anymore and you just want to give up. But take my advice: DON’T. My parents once told me before I started my first day of classes, that college is a marathon, not a race. Over the years, I couldn’t help but to remember that advice and understand how true those words are.

There’s been a lot of twists and turns along the way to get to where I am now. There’s been great times, and there’s been not so great times. But no matter what, I wouldn’t go back and change a single thing. Everything that we go through shapes us to become the people we are, and after looking back, it truly has been a great ride.

Thank you PRSSA, and to those I’ve had the opportunity to meet due to being in it. It’s an experience that I will never forget for the rest of my life.

Jordan PRSSA

Source: EMU PRSSA Facebook

Jordan Ross is a senior at Eastern Michigan University majoring in public relations and minoring in communications. Jordan is in his first semester serving as the vice president of professional development for EMU’s Eleanor Wright Chapter of PRSSA. Jordan is also a member of EMU’s Honors College and serves as the president of the EMU Student Center Student Employee Advisory Committee. You can find Jordan on Twitter @_JJRoss

 

                                                                                               

 

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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.