Bringing the PRSSA to Kean
By: Dominique Vinas
A hectic schedule is what any senior in college can relate to. And Jessica Cid, PR major here at Kean knows the feeling of having a lot of fish to fry.
Committing herself to losing weight and quitting smoking are just some of the minor goals she has set out for herself for this year. Her most recent project that she, along with many other students and faculty, have been dedicating most of their time to is getting Public Relations Students’ Society of America known on campus.
PRSSA is an organization designed for students interested in the public relations and communications field. Their goal is to advance the public relations profession by enhancing the knowledge of students and training them to be future professionals of their field.
“In my terms, it’s a committee of students with a passion for PR who are willing to take the time, effort, and commitment for getting a head start to their future,” said Linda Handford, vice president of Kean’s future PRSSA.
PRSSA gives students the option of gaining hands on experience in the field of public relations. The PRSSA chapter at Kean University, if recognized, will be called KUPRSSA. The members of the future
organization said this will be a positive impact on campus because it will be a firm that works with other organizations, providing them with what public relations professionals have to offer.
What is amazing about this organization is that it grants hands on experience, and it advocates ethical principles, promotes diversity and provides public relations education to all members of the chapter.
Cid, being an almost-graduate here at Kean, wanted to give back to her community by creating a firm that would help her fellow PR majors in the long run, even after she leaves.
“I did a lot of research and found many schools across the nation that had PRSSA chapters,” Cid said. “And I thought it would be a great idea for Kean to have one since there are a great number of PR majors studying here. So Professor Schwab and I, along with seven students here, have been working together in submitting the PRSSA chapter application by Nov. 1.”
Cid, who is the president of KUPRSSA, described the firm as internships that happen right in the comfort of your own university, with peers who share the same interests, working towards one common goal: being successful in the public relations field.
“I looked into PRSSA because I found that it is a big stepping stone into my future career as a public relations major,” said Cid. “The more hands on experience I gain the better candidate I am for a position in the future. Not only that but networking is really important and PRSSA will help all dedicated members achieve that.”
Throughout her years in college, if it’s one thing Cid has learned, it’s time management skills. She expressed how starting this chapter is a little difficult and very tedious, but it’s something that she has a passion for, and that is what drives her to making sure she does everything possible to get what she wants.
Right now, she and the seven other students and faculty, are in the process of filling the application to the PRSSA headquarters in New York. The application process takes time. After approval, they are then going to seek being a recognized organization at Kean University.
“We are currently trying to form our chapter by sending out mass emails, and by word of mouth,” said
Jennifer Niemi, events coordinator of KUPRSSA. Basically, the whole process will have to start over in the spring semester, but it’ll be worth the hard work in the long run.
Together they are doing extensive research on PRSSA, working on getting regulations and bylaws together and trying to get their chapter of PRSSA on campus recognized as soon as they possibly can.
The fact that there are a lot of voices backing up this idea means a lot to Cid.
“Without any of my many executive members this wouldn’t be possible. We all work as one and we need eachother,” said Handford.
“We are trying to make it known to all communication majors, undergraduate and graduate, who are interested in the field of Public Relations to join and help expand the Chapter for a great future,” said Catherine Baldino, Social Media director of KUPRSSA.
The team of the future KUPRSSA describe themselves as a great group of people that are dedicated to making this orginization a success. What makes them so successful is the fact that they are in constant communication with one another and are always looking to have meetings.
“This is going to be a successful organization because we are all excited to be working together,” said Stacey Cooney, Secretary of KUPRSSA.
Not only are there a bunch of students fighting for KUPRSSA, many communication professors are looking forward to having such a positive, educational organization recognized on campus.
“Professor Schwab has been the biggest influence in the KUPRSSA. She got the idea in our minds and with Jessica’s dedication, we formed a great executive board and have been supportive of one another,” said Cooney.
Professor and faculty advisor, Suzanne Schwab stresses how the PRSSA is more than just a club. She regards it as a professional orginization that is dedicated to committed PR students and provides them with hands on experience. And what exactly is meant by hands on experience?
“Applying the theories learned in the classroom to actual PR projects”, said Schwab. “It is important to me because it is important for the students. I truly believe they need this to gain tremendous experience that can be carried into their future PR careers.”
What is so original about this particular association is that they have support from other schools that presently have a chapter. Each chapter is required to have an endorsement from another school chapter.
It also requires a professional in the PR industry to be a professional advisor.
“We have Monmouth University endorsing us and we have professionals from Coyne PR advising us – which happens to be a Kean University alumni – Brian Murphy,” said Shwab.
She also expressed how the process to get approved is long and tedious. After all of their hard work, they are all anxiously keeping their fingers crossed that they will be an official chapter by the end of the semester.
“This is all done by the students”, said Schwab, “I am simply guiding them through, much like road signs on a road. They are definitely doing the driving.”