By: 2015-2016 AU PRSSA President, Kathleen Rooney
One of my jobs as president of AU PRSSA is serving as the biggest advocate and recruiter to our vastly growing chapter. So many times I will get the question of why join PRSSA, especially within a community with an overabundance of activities to choose from. With that in mind, to say that PRSSA is the organization that is worth spending your money and time on, I better have a lot of value to back it up. Luckily this local chapter and national organization makes it easy for me to sing its praises.
As a four-year veteran to this organization, I can confidently say that I have fully reaped all of the benefits PRSSA can offer me. If there were ever a time that I doubted the value in it, I would think back to the PRSSA sponsored conferences that I have attended in the past and it would reiterate the significance this group it has had on my professional development.
Throughout the year PRSSA members have the opportunity to attend a national conference, regional conferences or national assembly. Each conference weaves in the chance for social engagement with other members, professional development and professional networking. Attending a total of four conferences has cost me money, time and a few missed classes, but overall I found three key values that will help me considerably as I look to transition into the “real world” this May.
1. It is a PR girl’s dream networking opportunity
Imagine a school networking reception with local alumni. You come out of that with around five business cards and the intention of likely having a conversation with one or two of those professionals in the future. Now multiply that number by ten and you have a PRSSA conference. Throughout an entire weekend you will get to come face-to-face with tens of professionals holding positions from entry level to CEO. The benefit of this is that these professionals are at this conference for the sole purpose of influencing the next generation of PR professionals and furthering your personal professional career.
2.Build your knowledge & find your passion
The wonderful thing about the PR profession is that every industry needs communications, which leaves the opportunities endless. PRSSA conferences host panels on almost every type of PR, which gives students the ability to explore a different part of the profession or deepen their knowledge on a particular topic. Classes can teach you all about the different types of PR, yet it is not until you hear it from a professional actually working in the field that you can decide you truly passion for it.
3. Meet your future co-workers
A PRSSA regional conference and national assembly can host upwards of 400 students, while the PRSSA national conference hosts upwards of 1,200 students, all with similar interests and passions as one another. The fact of the matter is that when we all step into the professional world the most crucial connections that we can have will be with each other. Many times at a university you are only limited to the connections you make with other students within your prospective communications schools, yet at a national or regional conference you get to make hundreds of connections and friendships with students that are in the same field as you all across the nation. I have come met so many individuals at each conference that continue to motivate me to be a better professional and will forever be people I can turn to in the field.
So, I urge you all to attend a PRSSA conference at least once and come out without a newfound love for the profession and the motivation to kick start your future career. Below are all of the upcoming PRSSA conferences:
March 3-6: PRSSA 2016 National Assembly in Austin, Texas
March 11-12: The Next Generation of PR, California State University, Fullerton
March 18-19: Start Spreading the News, Hofstra University
March 18-19: The Tale of Our City: PR’s Role in Detroit’s Revitalization, Michigan State University and Wayne State University
April 8-9: PR Grand Slam: Breaking Into the Big Leagues, University of Cincinnati
April 8-9: Caffeinate your Career, Waynesburg University
April 9: Practice: A Community ApPRoach to PR, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay
Oct. 21-25: Crossroads of America, Indianapolis, Indiana