PRSSA Conference Opens Doors for Public Relations Students

CONTRIBUTED BY ALESIA BANI

Attendees at one of the panels in the SAC
Attendees at one of the panels in the SAC

Students from across the East Coast gathered at the Student Center from March 22 to March 23 for a two day public relations conference hosted by Temple PRSSA.

PRSSA is an organization for students interested in public relations and communications, and Temple’s chapter is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference began Friday night with a networking event at the Hard Rock Cafe in Center City.

Freshman PR major, Kyra Beckish came to the conference to network with her peers and listen to professionals in the industry.

“Networking is terrifying, but I love meeting people,” she added.

Day two began at Mitten Hall at Temple University where Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney gave a welcoming address and congratulated the Temple PRSSA chapter. Briefly after, students moved to the Howard Gittis Student Center where they could listen to nine breakout sessions throughout the day where panels of PR professionals spoke. Panels included Agency/Client Relations, Fake News & Ethics, Diversity, Special Events, Professional Development, etc.

Beckish said she was most excited to listen to the #MeToo panel. The one hour luncheon topic, PR in the Age of the #MeToo Movement had the largest crowd of students present. Panelists spoke on how the social movement against sexual harassment is affecting the corporate world.

Junior PR major, Olivia Bumgardner, the assistant firm director of PRrowl, Temple’s student run PR firm, said she was really excited to just watch the women who organized this event throughout the day.

“Seeing this event produced by two women who have worked their butts off is just amazing,” Bumgardner said.

Conference Coordinator Brianna Greco
Conference Coordinator Brianna Greco

The conference coordinator, Brianna Greco, a senior strategic communication major with a focus in public relations began the hectic process of organizing the conference in August of 2018.

“People in PR say they are constantly trying to put out little fires, and that’s what I felt I was doing,” she said.

Greco who began her career at Temple as a journalism major, developed a love for public relations because she said you can apply it to any industry whether it be sports or entertainment.

Freshman PR major, Kali Lauer came to Temple undecided when her PR major peer mentor guided her to PRSSA. Today, she serves in the organization’s conference committee.

Lauer said, “I feel like I can be myself. They’re very accepting and really easy to talk to,” referring to her peers in the public relations field.

Lauer added she was looking forward to the experience of networking with people at the various panels.

Kali Lauer and other attendees at the Hard Rock Cafe
Kali Lauer and other attendees at the Hard Rock Cafe

At Agency/Client Relations, speakers talked about their experience in the Public Relations industry and their individual journeys. At the Agency/Client Relations breakout session, Darla Price, the Executive Account Director at McCann said there is a lot of competition in public relations, especially at Temple University.

“Find out what the one word is that describes you. For me it is fierce,” she said.

After the last panel Temple students had an hour and a half to shake hands, make connections and learn more about public relations from professionals in the industry and peers from different universities.

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