By Megan Newton
I knew I wanted to join a PRSSA chapter ever since I decided PR would be my future career. When I was accepted at Ohio University and made the decision to become a Bobcat, I immediately began researching the Scripps chapter. When it came time to join organizations at the freshmen involvement fair I headed straight for the PRSSA table and met last year’s amazing president, Allison Jordan. Allison provided me with a great first impression of the bright and talented students I would encounter within the chapter, and while I walked away with what I thought was a great idea of what I would find, I had no idea that joining PRSSA would actually be the best decision I made my freshman year.
By joining PRSSA, I instantly became part of a talented, intelligent, dedicated and driven family of students who welcome new members with open arms. Their warm nature made it so easy to get involved.
When I officially became a dues-paying member of PRSSA as a freshman, I was already ahead of the game. PRSSA is recognized as a professional organization that serves as a phenomenal educational tool as well. As freshman, we are not normally presented with many opportunities to take classes focusing solely on our major. Therefore, almost all of the knowledge I’ve gained about the PR industry this year was gained through PRSSA meetings. Where else would I have been able to network with real professionals every week or have the opportunity to attend a regional conference as a freshman?
While PRSSA is a professional organization, we are totally not all work and no play. The executive board and their committees put on various social events throughout the year to encourage bonding throughout the chapter – and that’s exactly what they do. The year kicks off with the mentor/mentee reveal where members are given a fun challenge to unmask their new mentor or mentee. Other events throughout the year include pumpkin carving, the Thanksgiving dinner, a themed social with Ad club, a kickball game, a mentor/mentee newlywed game and the end-of-the-year banquet! All of these events bring the chapter together and give us an opportunity to celebrate all we have accomplished.
Our chapter of PRSSA possesses many amazing opportunities – my personal favorite is called the mentor/mentee program – which is one of the incredible aspects of PRSSA that made my first year so wonderful. This program forms partnerships between students, assisting in crossing the bridge between upperclassmen and underclassmen students. Students are matched up based on mutual interests and personalities – and let me just say, I could not have gotten luckier. I personally met the most incredible people through this program. My mentor, Heather Bartman and co-mentee, Sarah Rachul were there to help me through anything I needed this year. I know I have found lifelong friendships in both girls and I can’t wait for our PRSSA mentor/mentee family to grow as the next three years pass.
Students are able to build their resume by serving on the executive board or on a committee. The committees are a great way for freshmen to help find their place in the chapter. By joining the Social Affairs Committee, students help plan the chapter events. This committee also does fundraising for the chapter, which is a great way to contribute. If you’d rather stick to the technical writing aspect of PR, feel free to join the PR Committee. In this group, you assist the executive board members by writing blog posts for our newsletter and website. There really is something for everyone, so there’s no excuse to not get involved!
When you’re a freshman, almost everything can seem intimidating. However, I can promise your first PRSSA meeting will be the furthest thing from it. I loved every minute of my experience with PRSSA as a freshman and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for our chapter during the completion of my college career. I made a lot of good decisions during my first year, and it definitely proved itself to be unforgettable. But, I can truly say that joining PRSSA was the best decision I made my freshman year. I hope it will be for all incoming freshman, too.