By: Bri Olson (@brii_olson)
The 2017-2018 year has been one to remember for GV PRSSA. Our executive board was able to work well as a team, inspire leadership opportunities for new members, and provide a great year of speakers and professional tours. Here are a few highlights of our accomplishments this year.
PRSSA National Conference
This year, we were able to take 12 members to the 2017 National Conference in Boston, MA. Apart from exploring the historical and breathtaking city, members had the opportunity to learn about the public relations field from great speakers and professionals. They were also able to network with these professionals and make many great connections. It was really special to meet with PRSSA members from the other Chapters all over the country and participate in professional development and networking activities with them.
A major accomplishment for our Chapter was the launch of our diversity initiative in response to a trend observed within our Chapter, university, and the public relations profession—diversity is severely lacking. We surveyed our members to gauge our current demographics, published the results in a report, and are now working closely with our university’s Office of Multicultural Affairs to improve our Chapter’s diversity. Additionally, we have ensured that our speakers are diverse for General Assembly meetings. We also created a new webpage on our website that highlights women, LGBTQ, and multicultural content that GVPRSSA members have produced. Our VP of Chapter Development, Trevor Bryan, gave a diversity and inclusion presentation at a General Assembly meeting. Topics included the importance of diversity, microaggressions, and how to support an inclusive environment. This initiative is an important recognition of the lack of diversity not only within our Chapter, but across the entire public relations field.
This March, our student-run firm, GrandPR, was selected to host CreateAthon. This is a 24-hour, around the clock national event that brings volunteers together to provide pro bono creative services to selected nonprofit organizations. This volunteer opportunity was also extended to members of our Chapter, which helped to form five different teams. These teams worked to create campaigns for five local nonprofits, including Grand Rapids Public Library, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, Grand rapids HQ, Grand Rapids Community Foundation and Kids’ Food Basket. Participants in this event raved about the experiences they had and the confidence they gained through working with their peers on these projects, even though their sleep schedules were messed up for the next week. I am proud that we were able to offer our members a life-changing opportunity to help them grow professionally.
Arthur W. Page Case Study Competition
Another amazing accomplishment for our organization was being recognized in a news release by the Arthur W. Page Society for an award-winning case study. The recipients of this award were all GV PRSSA members, including Erin Stehlik, Aaron Robert, Brooklyn Wilson and myself. We earned third place for our case study on Target’s transgender bathroom policy. This was an amazing experience and really helped to strengthen the presence of our Chapter.
If my college career has taught me anything, it’s that you have to really want it. You have to be a “yes” person. You have to throw yourself into extra projects, competitions, or organizations like PRSSA.You have to prioritize your time and put in extra hours even when all you want to do is rest or throw the towel in. Lastly, when you say you’ll do something, you do it! By taking on these “extra” responsibilities, you will meet people that will teach you things that go beyond the classroom or the normal 9-5 day at the office. So thank you for allowing me to serve as your Chapter President for the 2017-2018 academic year, I will forever be inspired by your passion for PR.
Bri is a senior at GVSU majoring in Advertising and Public Relations with an emphasis in PR. She is also passionate about photography and the creativity behind it. One of Bri’s favorite aspects of PR is media relations. She is an eager, motivated, and curious student that is excited to serve as President of GVSU PRSSA this year.