The power of potential and passion radiate throughout Salon BC as students fill the space to the brim, eager to learn and connect. Alisa Agozzino, PRSSA National Faculty Adviser, and Ryan Will, vice president of events and fundraising, greet the Chapter presidents, vice presidents and firm directors as they walk into the room.
To kick off this year’s National Assembly Chapter officer session, Agozzino and Will conducted a small exercise to get everyone’s minds flowing. Each student rose to state his or her name, college and dream job. The ambitions and goals ranged from working in corporate communications to wedding planning and even as ambitious as becoming the president of the United States. This exercise was an opportunity to stress the network students have within PRSSA. One may never know what the girl they met at the National Assembly became unless they stay connected — a connection of people that lifts one another and supports each other as much as possible.
Preceding this exercise, students broke off into groups to discuss the most prominent challenges their Chapter or firm is facing.
I was paired with a diverse group of students with Chapter sizes ranging from 209 to nine dues-paying members. Each of our struggles differed, though two common challenges we faced are Chapter retention and student involvement.
Ryan Tarko of Eastern Connecticut State University noted that his school pays for student PRSSA dues and yet they still have issues with involvement; a shocking statement that upset our group, as we know the positive impact PRSSA has on one’s career and life in general.
This session was not meant to dwell on our difficulties as we then tackled our problems as a team as we shared our tactics to combat these issues.
As an entire session, we came up with a few ideas:
- Bring in interesting speakers to draw students’ attention to PRSSA.
- Utilize the PRSSA FUNdraising Bowl Playbook.
- Reach out to surrounding PRSSA Chapters and work together.
- Know your resources and never shy away from contacting PRSSA National Staff.
- Create a community within your college by partnering up with other campus organizations or athletics.
As the session closed, we left with a sense of determination and drive. I immediately texted my e-Board and proposed a fundraiser idea generated through the activity.
Chapter breakout sessions are one of my favorite parts of any PRSSA event as they’re a great opportunity to learn from your peers and network. I was lucky enough to make some amazing connections and friends this year.
Lily Whorl is currently a senior and PRSSA Chapter president at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is majoring in journalism and public relations, minoring in communications media. On top of being a full-time student and Chapter president, she works part-time at Planful, a boutique-marketing firm near campus. Follow her on Twitter @lollylikeslemon orLinkedIn account.