Tuesday, November 21, 2006

PR Student Status

Richard Edelman writes in his "6 a.m." blog about his very positive impressions after an encounter with PRSSA students at the recent national conference in Salt Lake City. I concur and can make some additional comments about PRSSA students here in West Michigan, at least through my knowledge of them as advisor to the Grand Valley State University PRSSA chapter:

We are up to 30 dues-paying members and more than 60 regular attenders. And there's reason to believe that will grow. The number of Ad/PR majors at GVSU has doubled, to more than 500, in the past four years.

It's a GVSU student, Lisa Tavnik, who is the first to hold a new post of vice president of advocacy for the national PRSSA organization. Her work includes a recent statement on transparency. Nice to see our future professionals taking a strong ethical stance.

Our students, who are required to do at least one internship, have been spreading their wings from coast to coast. Recent internships have been at Oscar de la Renta in New York and Porter Novelli in LA. They also make annual visits to firms in Detroit and Chicago.

While we incorporate 20-30 "clients" into our PR courses each semester, the PRSSA chapter has started a student-run firm and is doing PR work for other student organizations and some community clients.

The group is nearly finished with a West Michigan Media Guide they will make available for sale to regional nonprofits as a fundraiser to offset their costs to attend the national conference. The guide will be updated and available each year.

Two teams are involved in the annual Bateman PR Campaigns Competition, working with me and GVSU alumna Kate Washburn of Wondergem Consulting as advisors.

All of this is done on top of their regular busy schedules and increasingly stellar work in the classroom. I'd say the industry, passion, and creativity they exhibit are a good commentary on the future of our profession.

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