Whether Student or PR Pro, Fall = Change

By: Jennifer Schleman, APR

Crispness has filled the air and soon leaves will begin to fall. Whether you are a student or not, fall signals change – shorter days, cooler evenings and a quicker pace than those dog days of August.

PRSA-NCC has a variety of ways for both students and professionals to get involved. For students, the best way to connect with other public relations students and professionals is by joining your local Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter. In the Washington, DC region, five universities have PRSSA chapters.

  1. American University, Facebook page and website, describes its AU PRSSA chapter as “dedicated to bringing advertising, public relations, marketing and communication students together professionally and socially.” Members help plan chapter events, hold conference fundraisers and “start building their career while still in school.”
  2. George Mason University, Facebook page and website, has a mission to “serve our members by enhancing their knowledge of public relations and providing access to professional development opportunities.” Students not only participate in professional development programs but also can volunteer for chapter committees and other events.
  3. Hood College, Facebook page, located in Frederick, Md., is the “youngest” of the PRSSA chapters in the Washington area and is housed in the College’s Integrated Marketing and Communications Programs. The chapter offers students “practical and professional contacts and experiences … (and) opportunities for leadership within this organization.”
  4. Howard University, Facebook page, is home to the D. Parke Gibson Chapter of PRSSA. Founded in 1985, the chapter describes itself as a “pre-professional student run organization with more than 200 members across the nation.” Named after D. Parke Gibson, a pioneer in multicultural public relations as well as the founder of the first black-owned PR firm, D. Parke Gibson International, in New York, the chapter is located within the John H. Johnson School of Communications (JHJSOC) at Howard and was the first Historically Black College or University chapter within PRSSA.
  5. University of Maryland, College Park, Facebook page and website, gives students the opportunity to network with each other and with professionals in the DC region. According to their website, the chapter “develops several events throughout the year to connect students with exciting opportunities in the field of public relations.” This includes annual tours of some of the largest public relations firms in Washington.

And if you are a professional looking for a way to give back to future public relations professionals, join us on the PRSA-NCC University Relations Committee! The Committee is looking for volunteers to act as liaisons to the local university PRSSA chapters listed above to help mentor students and provide counsel on their chapters’ programming and other activities. If you are interested in joining the committee, please contact me. And don’t forget to like the University Relations Committee Facebook page!

Jennifer Schleman, APR, is co-chair of the PRSA-NCC University Relations Committee and a PRSA-NCC Board Member. She is the senior associate director of media relations for the American Hospital Association.

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