By: Bri Olson (@brii_olson)In the beginning of April, I represented our chapter at the National Assembly in Seattle, Washington. Quite honestly, I didn’t really know what to expect when I heard the words “National Assembly.” I have been to a handful of national and regional PRSSA conferences but never a National Assembly. The purpose of the weekend-long assembly was to vote on bylaws and elect the next National Committee.
Aside from that daunting process, programming included a session for presidents and firm directors. A delegate from every PRSSA chapter in the country was invited to attend, which is always a good way to collaborate with other leaders.
It was in that leadership session that I realized that GrandPR is 1 of 5 nationally affiliated student-run firms. GrandPR is an amazing benefit to the PRSSA partnership we currently have. However, hearing the organizational structure of how other firms operate was interesting. GrandPR staff members take on about five hours of extra work every week yet they don’t have the same incentives that other nationally affiliated firms do. For example, some firms get class credit for their work, others can count it towards their internship requirement. I would love to see some adjustments in the supervision of GrandPR so that Grand Valley can allow similar incentives to happen.
From a chapter standpoint, I was pleased to hear how developed our chapter was in comparison to others. I offered a lot of solutions to other chapters that were struggling with things like programming, member attendance and retention.
Looking forward to next year as chapter president, I want to work hard to offer members agency tours once a month, ensure the attendance of quality speakers, and stray away from any self-lead programming. Additionally, I would like to coordinate more joint experiences with other PRSSA chapters in Michigan. Lastly, I would love to strengthen the bond with our mother chapter of WMPRSA.
If I have learned anything from my experience attending National PRSSA events it’s this: never stop learning and be an advocate for the profession. I am aiming to address these two lessons by writing this blog. Yes, we have an extremely successful PRSSA chapter with approximately 70 active members as well as a huge GrandPR staff of approximately 20 students. However, we cannot stop here; it is important to improve and learn. I am so passionate about the profession of public relations that I want to ensure that the APR program is doing everything they can to allow the career-driven peers beside me to succeed.