The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is a product of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) that provides networking with peers and professionals in the public relations industry. It is a pre-professional organization consisting of a national network of more than ten thousand students.
Logan Corn, public relations senior, is the current president of the IUS PRSSA chapter.
“Our mission is to develop students as professionals and provide an experiential learning piece outside of what’s being learned in the classroom,” Corn said.
PRSSA was introduced after a semester project that a group conducted in Public Relations Professor Jane Dailey’s Public Relations Campaign course. Dailey has been a member of PRSA for 25 years and is the faculty advisor for the IUS chapter.
IUS received its national chapter in the fall of 2017 and began recruiting students. The association’s first officers were elected in the spring of 2018.
Corn learned of PRSSA while taking a Reporting, Writing and Editing course taught by Adam Maksl. He was quick to recommend the organization to her and said she could meet with Dailey for more information.
After hearing about this new organization that was recently introduced to IU Southeast, Corn decided to run for chapter president, successfully earning the position.
Meetings and Opportunities
Meetings for IUS’s PRSSA association are held with the PRSA Bluegrass parent chapter, located in Louisville. Luncheons are held once a month, where students can listen to around 30 guest speakers discuss various topics including communication, public relations and marketing.
Joshua Roy, the vice president of the IUS chapter, said that these opportunities have brought him connections with PR firms, “that will benefit me immensely when looking for a job.”
“PRSSA is a perfect resume builder,” Dailey said.
Corn said meetings and luncheons are great for networking and getting familiar with the local public relations field. IUS PRSSA’s first luncheon was held in 2019 — students visited WDRB’s headquarters, where they listened to reporters and producers talk about their experiences in the field.
They gave students advice for the best ways to gain reporters’ attention when pitching a story and wanting it published. They also shared examples of good and bad press releases.
During the most recent luncheon, guest speakers fielded questions from students about preparing for interviews and how to address various questions during those interviews.
“[PRSSA] gives students a great opportunity to build professional skills and learn directly from professionals working in the industry,” Dailey said.
The chapter is currently working with the Scott County Empower Youth Coalition to create a public relations social media campaign for them. This organization focuses on the prevention of underage drinking in Scott County in order to decrease the chances of susceptibility to drug usage in minors and combat HIV and opioid epidemics in the area.
PRSSA’s 17 members recently attended the 2019 PRSA Bluegrass Landmarks of Excellence Awards where public relations professionals, their projects and programs were recognized for various awards.
This event provided networking for students who were able to interact with advertising agency personnel and other public relations professionals including Lori Eberenz, the senior manager of public affairs for KFC and president of PRSA Bluegrass.
Open to All
Corn said the IUS PRSSA chapter is open to students of all majors.
“Other majors can benefit from it even though it might not sound like public relations would benefit them, but it would,” Corn said.
“There are so many benefits to anyone going into a communication, business or journalism field,” Roy said. “The skills that are used frequently in the PR world are extremely versatile and can be implemented into many different majors.”
Dailey hopes IUS’s PRSSA chapter will continue to expand and that future members can attend more national conferences.
“Our current leadership team has built a strong foundation and I hope they can become more engaged with the PRSA Bluegrass Chapter,” she said.