The Temple chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) has been awarded the Star Chapter designation for the second year in a row. The designation represents the highest standard for PRSSA chapters.
To qualify as a Star Chapter, PRSSA groups have to meet a series of significant requirements in addition to providing quality programing and networking opportunities to their members. Last year, Temple's PRSSA Chapter exceeded the already considerable achievements required to become a Star Chapter.
A number of chapter members applied for scholarships and awards—and got them. Outgoing President Marissa Piffer, KLN '19, received the prestigious National Gold Key award for outstanding public relations student leaders, an award that had also been given to Temple's PRSSA chapter president Kim Leung, KLN '17, the previous year.
Other members attended national and local events in the field, including the PRSSA's national conference in Boston. They reached out to high school students who are interested in studying public relations and gave them the opportunity to attend a major event on campus, the 5th annual TU Invitational Conference. The chapter hosted and organized the massive networking event, which boasted more 20 guest speakers and for the first time, sponsorship.
Incoming president Chelsea Seidel, KLN '18, who organized the conference said that it gave the younger students insight into what Klein College has to offer them. "They got to talk with us about what we were doing, what classes we take and they got to come see what we're a part of, and that got them interested in joining PRSSA," she said.
Students in the public relations capstone class, taught by Professor David Brown, participated in the Bateman Case Study Competition. They ran a year-long campaign for the With Purpose organization, which raises awareness for childhood cancer. Their #playwithpurpose campaign was covered on ABC news and featured on the scrolling marquee on the PECO tower.
In a project that may not at first seem to be connected to public relations, chapter members organized a food drive for the homeless services organization Project HOME. Their work on the drive put the chapter in the running for a PEHAN Award for Community Service.
Service is a big part of achieving Star Chapter designation, and Professor Gregg Feistman, who advises the chapter, says that this makes sense.
"That's the nature of how the public relations field has grown," he said. "It's not strictly a press agent publicity model any more. As the world has changed with social media and traditional media, getting out and working in the community, engaging with specific audience groups is true public relations."
Any student with an interest in the field can join the PRSSA and have access to guest speakers, workshops and the opportunity to interview to work for PROwl, Temple's in-house public relations firm, which is the force behind social media campaigns like #beforeigraduate and promotions for the alumni board.
Working for PROwl gives students a real advantage in the industry, says Feistman.
"Honestly, employers love to see it on a résumé," he said, "because it's giving them professional-level experience while they're still in college."
Seidel agrees and points out that working for PROwl and being part of the PRSSA also led to important networking opportunities. "We have events that let us connect with members of PRSA (the professional counterpart to the student association) which makes it easy to connect with mentors," said Seidel. "A lot of my best friendships have come out of PRSSA, and we'll all be peers when we [graduate]."