Having never been to a PRSSA National Event before, you can imagine my excitement when I learned I would be representing our Chapter at National Assembly this year in Charlotte, North Carolina. While the gathering’s main purpose was to elect the new National Committee, we also had the opportunity to learn in different sessions and take part in an hour-long PR strategy competition.
I could bore you by describing my routine each day, but I took back something more important. Reach out for help. Before you ask someone like a professional or your advisor for help, reach out to your PRSSA National Network with over 10,000 members. You will be amazed at the resources you find, because that’s exactly what I found at Assembly. The best things I learned didn’t come from formal session, but just by casually chatting with my fellow delegates about what works and what doesn’t.
Everyone had a lot of say about membership. Many suggested drawing from other student organizations. For example, a lot of students with communication minors may dedicate most of their time to their major of study, but PRSSA can give them more resources.
Talking to incoming freshmen over the summer is another tactic used by many Chapters to promote awareness before they step on campus. As a result, the newbies will be dying to get to the first meeting and will probably bring their new friends with them.
We all know that our first meetings of the year are packed, but often attendance drops off dramatically starting with the next meeting. To avoid this, my peers said to make the second meeting a big agency tour so that way everyone can look forward to something really exciting.
Every chapter also needs simple and effective fundraising ideas. Selling fun party clothes and Rent-A-Puppy were by far the most popular among all the attendees. One of my roommates, Matt Hunnel, from the University of Nebraska, said he monetized his Chapter’s website and makes $400 a month in ad revenue. I’ll definitely be pushing that idea.
And for overall success, Outgoing National Committee members had some pointers. Remember, PRSSA is a pre-professional society, not a club. Don’t assume continuing membership — always reach out to members despite their level of involvement. Plan during the summer for continued success and an effective transition. Keep notes for every meeting and event so the next executive board can always improve.
On a more personal note, I had the wonderful pleasure of celebrating my 21st birthday at National Assembly and I seriously would not have asked for it any other way. It never ceases to amaze me how public relations students are always social and looking to meet someone and do something new. It really was amazing to meet so many students from across the country who share the same values and truly dedicate themselves to the society.
I seriously cannot wait for National Conference.