Most of you probably know me as the girl who stands up at the front of our meetings giving you updates about our PRSSA Chapter. If we haven’t had the opportunity to meet yet, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Delaney MacKenzie and I am proud to be serving as the GV PRSSA President this year.
Today, I want to give you a look at what I see when I look at the 50 plus members who sit before me on #PRThursdays. When I look around the room, I see bright-eyed, sometimes tired, and enthusiastic members all looking to learn more about the PR industry. I can barely put into words how it made me feel to see every seat filled at our first meeting of the year, but today I will try.
How I Got Here
Throughout my time involved in this program, I often reflect on my first meeting and think about what brought me here. At the end of my freshman year, I was confused, unsure if the advertising and public relations program was right for me, and felt the pressure to decide a major fast. Luckily, I was in Adrienne Wallace’s, GV PRSSA Faculty Advisor and GVSU APR Assistant Professor, CAP 105, class at the time, and she suggested I attend a PRSSA meeting.
I was both intimidated and excited to be in a room packed with students who were eager to learn more after a long day of classes. The topic that evening was Crisis PR, a concept unfamiliar to me at the time. After discussing the United Airlines scandal, I was so encaptivated. I left that meeting knowing I would be a PRSSA member the following year and that this was exactly where I wanted to be.
Fast forward three years later, I am now the one introducing our speakers to PRSSA members, hoping that you feel that same way I did at this first meeting.
What you’ll get out of PRSSA
I’m sure you’re already aware (hopefully) that PRSSA meets every other Thursday. But we have so much more to offer you than just meetings. Whether you attend our monthly agency tours to different cities, blog for our website, listen to PR Hangover or attend networking events with our parent chapter, WMPRSA, there is always an opportunity for you to do more. Learn more. Meet more people. Become more. PRSSA serves to prepare you and give you priceless experiences to take a step closer to becoming a PR pro. If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to get involved. Make the most of the opportunities that are right in front of you, even if it scares you.
How you can get more involved
You’re already reading this blog which means you have some interest in what PRSSA is up to. It sounds like you’re looking for a way to get more involved. Well, you’ve come to the right place. At PRSSA, we always want to be giving you the best experiences possible. If you’re looking for more ways to do that, I have a few suggestions for you.
1. Apply for an Eboard Position
You know who we are. The ten individuals who work to make sure every aspect of PRSSA runs as smoothly as possible. I encourage you to talk to our eboard members, find a position that interests you, and ask any and all questions you have about what the job entails. Elections take place in March, and we are looking for the best and brightest to lead PRSSA in the right direction next school year.
2. Apply for GrandPR
You’ve probably heard of it before, our nationally affiliated, student-run firm, GrandPR. This firm provides students with priceless experience working with real clients outside of a classroom. I can’t think of a better way to apply the skills you are learning in the classroom. GrandPR, which is also available for class credit now, will provide you with additional learning opportunities that you won’t find in class. And don’t forget about CreateAthon. CreateAthon is a 24-hour event where the GrandPR staff breaks into teams to create campaigns for local non-profits in one day. Trust me; this is a conversation starter on your resume. Ask anyone in GrandPR and they will tell you that this is an experience you won’t want to miss.
3. Join PRSA
If you’re a senior, you should consider becoming a National PRSSA Member this year. Most employers in this field will check to see if you’re a member, so you’ll want to make sure your name is on that list. Continuing on your membership to PRSA will give you access to a professional network in whatever area you end up in and will provide you with several workshops and networking opportunities. If you’re still in Grand Rapids after graduation, join the PRSA West Michigan Chapter.
Whether it's your senior year or your first year in PRSSA, I challenge you to seize every opportunity that comes your way and make the most out of this year. Meet our Eboard members and consider applying for next year, apply to be in GrandPR, and when the time comes, join PRSA. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it; my past three years in PRSSA have flown by. I can’t wait to see what the rest of this year has in store as your President.
Delaney MacKenzie is entering her senior year at Grand Valley State University majoring in advertising and public relations. She previously served GrandPR as the Vice President of Operations and now is the current President of Grand Valley’s PRSSA chapter. She’s excited to help PRSSA members identify the industry they’re passionate about and help them get there. Outside of the classroom, Delaney works as a Marketing Associate for RED66 Marketing, LLC and a Social Media & Marketing Coordinator for TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants. When she’s not glued to her laptop, you can find Delaney hammocking outside, searching for the best tacos in Grand Rapids, or doodling in her bullet journal.