From the CEO: Why You Should Care About Student-Run Firms

Since our founding in 2007, GrandPR has prided itself in hiring the “Best of the Best of the GVSU Advertising and Public Relations (APR) program.” Not only is GrandPR an asset to GVSU APR students, but also clients, professors, the university, and our future employers. I was recently interviewed for a feature article on GrandPR and our recent PRSSA national re-affiliation. One of the questions asked was how GrandPR benefits students outside of the classroom. So basically, what’s the point? 

Not your typical group project.

All GrandPR staff members are strategically hired for their specific talents and skills, plus their potential. In classes, we are constantly forced into group projects and given clients, along with course requirements that sometimes restrict what we can do for those clients. Deliberate planning and careful selection is a consistent trend in GrandPR, from staff to clients. The CEO and VPO carefully select clients and staff with assistance from the faculty advisor to provide unique and challenging projects and learning opportunities. Teams are carefully constructed to ensure all skills and talents are represented. This thoughtful planning leads to productive teams, where you can’t find a weakest link, but rather a team of highly talented, motivated students working together to provide the highest quality of work. As a student in GrandPR, you can always rely on your fellow staff members to provide great work and follow deadlines, because we are exactly what we aim to be: the best of the best.

Account Executive Katie Vanderlinde and 4-semester participant in GrandPR puts it best when she says, “GrandPR has allowed me to grow and given me opportunities to truly apply the skills I have learned in the classroom to real life situations. [GrandPR] has also taught me how to be more confident, develop better communication skills, gain responsibility, and network with others." 

Home is where our heart is. 

Spoiler Alert! Our home is GVSU. If you are an affiliate of the university (i.e. student, professor, alum), GrandPR automatically loves you and wants to help with whatever you are working on. GrandPR is a benefit to the university community, its organizations, and departments in that we can provide cost-effective public relations services to those who need it. Plus, we love to promote GVSU and the amazing things our learning community creates and executes.

We can teach you a thing or two, too.

The things we do for our clients are almost always related to things we are learning in the classroom. Just as Katie shared the overlap from classroom to GrandPR, there is also overlap from GrandPR to the classroom. I have seen firsthand that students in GrandPR are more active participants in the classroom, whether that is answering or asking questions, offering examples or a new and unique insight into the topic. As you may or may not know, PR changes – every day. Having students that are currently experiencing working with real clients can be a major help in the classroom, and can offer assistance in backing up those textbook lessons about the R.A.C.E. (Research, Action, Communication, Evaluation) theory because yes, you really should follow it.

We are not cheap or inexpensive. We are cost effective.

Our motto is experience over money, always. We do not financially compensate our staff for individual work. All of the money we make from clients goes directly back to our firm and our PRSSA chapter for professional development opportunities. So as a result, we carefully choose clients and projects that will enhance our academic careers, giving us opportunities to learn new things and fine-tune our skills in each part of pubic relations. From a client perspective, working with a student-run firm is a good option because we are cost effective and we bring fresh, new ideas and solutions to an otherwise typical and standard problem. We are able to bring previous classroom, internship and personal skills to the team.

Employers want 2-5 years of experience? Check.

Yes, even potential employers can benefit from the existence of a student-run PR firm. As a soon-to-be grad, I am able to check that box on my job applications with confidence! I have two years of experience working in a fully functional public relations firm with real clients, real problems, and real responsibilities. GrandPR grads are able to walk into job interviews confident in their public relations skills and knowing that they can offer something that other applicants cannot.

To my wonderful, smart and talented staff: Whether you realize it or not, you have the skills and potential to do anything you set your mind to. And regardless of how you feel on this Monday, you are years ahead of your peers in terms of PR experience. So go forth and apply for that job, because you are valued and you have everything that is required!

Keep on keepin' on,


Daltyn Little, CEO |  Daltyn is a senior at Grand Valley State University, sporting a major in Advertising and Public Relations paired with a language emphasis in Italian. Prior to her promotion to CEO, she served as an Account Associate and Account Executive for GrandPR during the 2013-14 school year.  She has a passion for anything unique, colorful, and creative.  She loves to explain, to describe, to host, and to write.  She is generous with praise, quick to smile, and always on the lookout for the positive in any situation.  Her public relations passion resides in non-profits.  Her top five strengths, according to the Clifton StrengthsFinder are Developer, Communication, Positivity, Includer, and Maximizer.