PR pros and pizza parties: PRSSA’s reflection and celebration of their first year

PRSSA first anniversary celebration

Mizzou’s chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America celebrates their one year anniversary and looks ahead to the club’s future

A few days before Thanksgiving Break in 2023, the students in Mizzou’s chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America celebrated their one-year-anniversary as a nationally recognized organization. The celebration consisted of a pizza party and elections for the next semester’s executive board as they look to the future of the club.

PRSSA is the collegiate version of Public Relations Society of America, the national organization for PR professionals. PRSSA was brought to Mizzou as a place for PR-focused students to partake in pro bono work, hear guest speakers, network with professionals, join trips to visit public relations agencies and enjoy many other club benefits.

“Having a chapter of PRSSA here at Mizzou is meaningful because it helps students understand the scope and size of the industry,” said Dr. Luke Capizzo, co-advisor to the PRSSA chapter. “There are so many opportunities for students through this affiliation, like attending the national conference, that they would not otherwise be exposed to here in Columbia.”

As the chapter grows, the executive board has worked to ensure members are getting the most out of their time in the organization, while also laying the groundwork for future executives to build off. Junior Strategic Communication student Caroline Schultz has served as the club’s Risk Management Chair this year.

“It has been incredible getting to serve on the executive board during such a transitional time for our organization,” said Schultz. “Coming in as a general member a year ago it looked a lot different, so getting to have a small part in the transformation has been indescribable.”

Schultz spent her time as risk management chair executing the first annual agency trip to St. Louis. Students carpooled downtown and met with professionals at Weber Shandwick, Fleishman Hillard, Common Ground Public Relations and Nestlé Purina.

NIL presentation from Brandon Lee
NIL presentation from Brandon Lee

“Planning this agency trip was more beneficial that I would have ever thought, for myself and for our members,” said Schultz. “I made so many professional connections while communicating with the agencies that I would not have the opportunity to have made anywhere else.”

Schultz feels that this is one of the most important and beneficial aspects of being a part of PRSSA that she did not realize before she joined the executive board.

“Since we are still a growing chapter, the best thing about the organization for new members is that there is so much upward mobility and room for growth,” said Schultz. “They can really assert themselves within the program and get to know our advisors and the professionals we get to work with.”

Like Schultz, sophomore Strategic Communication student Sophia Martin saw this as an opportunity she couldn’t miss out on. She applied to serve on the 2024 PRSSA executive board as Vice President of Public Relations and was recently elected into the position.

“Our Wednesday PRSSA meetings are something that I have looked forward to every week this past year,” said Martin. “Now that I am on the executive board I know there are so many doors opened for me that I can’t wait to take advantage of.”

Another aspect of PRSSA that many students have participated in is the pro bono partnership with Mizzou Athletics. Members of PRSSA were broken into teams and challenged to create campaigns for student-athletes to be able to maximize their abilities related to NIL (name, image and likeness). 

“Before they are even exposed to their capstone or their upper-level classes, our members are getting to be a part of real, hands-on pro bono work,” said Schultz. “This is immensely beneficial to students as they get the experience and work to add to their portfolio, putting them ahead of their peers.”

With the success of their first year, PRSSA looks to be a premier organization for students in the Journalism school and beyond.

Updated: December 20, 2023

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