Minutes after walking out of the post office this past June, I called my friend and said, “I just shipped off my baby to New York City!” Confused, I explained to her that I had finished our Chapter’s F.H. Teahan Outstanding Chapter Award binder and sent it off to NYC to PRSSA Headquarters.
That’s exactly what the binder felt like – a theoretical “baby.” Busting at the seams (literally), our 2-inch binder was filled to the brim with our Chapter’s work in community and university service, recruitment, student-run firm activities, building our relationship with Nebraska PRSA and other professional development activities. Our members spent the last year pouring in their efforts in a variety of campus and community events. By documenting these efforts, we were able to take our shot at applying for Outstanding Chapter.
The process to apply may seem extensive at first, but all Chapters of any size are eligible and encouraged to compete. Though we only have an average of 35 to 40 active members, we have earned several Teahan Awards since 2004 (when we won Outstanding Community Service). In 2009, we earned Outstanding Chapter for the first time. In 2012, we received this honor again.
What can your Chapter do to help your application? First, your executive board should begin planning early to keep a record of your chapter events and activities. Save everything from posters to news clippings and don’t forget photos. We divided our officers into teams for each Teahan Award. For example, the outgoing president and I, the incoming president, were responsible for the Outstanding Chapter book. We made an outline of all Chapter and firm activities and gathered creative elements and photos. Saving and printing documents as events and meetings take place can make a world of a difference.
All Chapters have a lot to “show off,” so take advantage of this opportunity to get recognized and grow as a Chapter. Start by reviewing the guidelines posted on the PRSSA website. Follow these suggestions and make sure to proofread carefully. I encourage every Chapter to take a look at the available awards and discuss with your officers which award categories best fit your Chapter. Don’t forget to review individual awards and scholarships, as well.
If you ask the 10 MaverickPR members who attended the 2012 National Conference in San Francisco about their favorite memory from the event, all would answer hearing our university’s name announced as the recipient of the 2012 Outstanding Chapter Award. Winning a Teahan Award is not only a way for a Chapter to be recognized nationally, but it also provides for a renewed sense of pride in your Chapter. Get your applications in now before the June deadline. Good luck!
Megan Romero is the president of University of Nebraska at Omaha’s PRSSA Chapter, MaverickPR. Romero holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration and is pursuing a Master of Arts in communication. She plans to work in corporation communications or marketing upon graduation.