The best not-so-kept secret in GVSU’s advertising and public relations program is GVPRSSA and GrandPR. In the vastness of student organizations, where there is virtually a student organization for every niche when it comes to professional development, few come close to GVPRSSA and GrandPR. In my experience being a member of both of these programs, I hear what has become a cliche in our community: “I wish I had become a part of GrandPR and GVPRSSA earlier.” That includes me. I switched my major to AD/PR a year prior to becoming a member last semester. Let me save you from the cliche and give you a deep dive into these two programs. 

GVPRSSA

To understand what GVPRSSA is about, let’s first talk about the acronym itself. GVPRSSA stands for Grand Valley’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. PRSSA has over 300 chapters at universities across the country. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is the parent organization of PRSSA; they both focus on professional development, networking, and finding internships/jobs. 

GVPRSSA is also one of the several student chapters that are a part of Reimagined PR. Reimagined PR meets bi-weekly via Zoom and gives students the opportunity to hear from professionals across the country in several different industries. One of my favorite meetings from last winter was hearing from a PR professional from Yosemite National Park. He shared about encounters with Oprah and former President Obama while showing stunning national park photos. Reimagined PR also has meetings where there are several hard conversations about DEI, why it is so important, and how to have these tough conversations with our peers. 

In addition to programming meetings, GVPRSSA offers agency tours where you can learn more about communication, marketing, and PR firms across West Michigan. GVPRSSA also has its own blog and even a podcast hosted by Brady Mills, where he interviews professionals about their career journeys. 

GVPRSSA gives students opportunities to learn and grow as a professional beyond the classroom to make it less scary entering the real world after graduation. One of these opportunities is a student-run integrated communications firm, GrandPR. 

GrandPR 

Not only does Grand Valley have a PRSSA chapter, they are one of the few chapters that have their own integrated communications firm. A group of PRSSA members who wanted to take their PR and communications skills to the next level established GrandPR in 2007. GrandPR members work with real clients to improve their public relations, communications, and marketing worth. GrandPR also competes in competitions like the Digital Marketing Competition, Create-a-thon, and so much more. GrandPR has earned countless awards as well in these competitions. 

GrandPR is naturally a portfolio builder, as it gives you the chance to be a part of a team, which is valuable to future employers. Though it’s not an internship, GrandPR puts the best and brightest students the AD/PR program has to offer to work. GrandPR is an excellent way of improving the hard and soft skills that it takes to be a professional. If you are up for the challenge, want to gain real client experience, and feel you have what it takes, I strongly encourage you to give this opportunity a shot. GrandPR is a great organization to be a part of, especially with its rare national accreditation from PRSA. Plus, once you become a GrandPR member, you are naturally a member of GVPRSSA as well. 

Grand Valley’s AD/PR program is nationally recognized and full of great opportunities, so why not be a part of the best of the best and get involved with these two outstanding programs?

About the Author:

Hunter Bachman is a senior studying Advertising & Public Relations. He is currently a public relations and Social Marketing intern with Spectacle Creative Media. This is his second semester with GrandPR, continuing his role as an Account Associate for the fall semester. He is looking forward to working with his team members on projects that will continue to develop him as a professional.