The National Conference Diaries

By President Brooke Drost and VP Of Chapter Development Karoline Etter

The experiences of Chapter President Brooke Drost and Vice President Karoline Etter at Public Relations Student Society of America National Conference in Washington D.C. These are their reflections on what they got out of it as individual professionals and how the information they got can help our chapter keep growing.

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A president’s perspective (By Brooke Drost): 

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College students are a power source of fresh ideas, endless energy and motivation. I am convinced that my years of undergrad are filled with some of the most stressful, fast paced and time-consuming days I will ever live; conversely they are also some of the happiest, most exciting and unforgettable days, which I will cherish for years to come. 

Between seven classes, 30-hour workweeks, holding a leadership position in both the sorority and PRSSA while interning at the hospital, I am still functioning. I look forward to the day I can look back and think to myself, “Wow, I did all of that? That was pretty awesome!”

As students, we are told everyday how important it is to involve ourselves in extracurricular activities: I have heard, “This will look good on your resume,” and “This will help you progress in your major.” But is there a point where you can be too involved? Is there a point where your attention is divided in so many different directions that it actually ends up hurting your organizations? 

Prior to national conference, I believed this to be true; but now as the president of PRSSA, I can answer that question with a passionate “No!” National conference showed me the endless possibilities within my grasp. It showed me that you can hold leadership positions in two different clubs on campus and be equally successful in all of them without diverting attention away from one and focusing more on the other. Through various workshops, personal interactions and after listening to many guest speakers, I reinvented myself as president of PRSSA. 

By the end of conference I was full of new ideas and my view of public relations was revitalized with a burning passion to be the best president I could possibly be for our chapter members. Through various networking sessions with PRSSA presidents from colleges and universities across the country, I developed dozens of new ideas and plans, and was beaming with excitement to implement them. All I wanted to do was tell the rest of our E-Board about the amazing new plans I had developed for our chapter. I knew as a team we would work to make these plans a reality. 

For hours Karoline, PRSSA VP of Chapter Development, and I worked on ways to revamp our chapter: different activities we could implement during meetings to promote connectivity between members, agencies we could tour and guest speakers we could invite. We were one big fountain of ideas ready to overflow.  

Since conference, we have already noticed an improvement in our productivity: better communication between E-Board members and stronger relationships with our chapter members. Attending conference was the best decision we could have made, not only to rediscover ourselves as upcoming PR professionals and to reignite our passion, but also to enhance our chapter and help our members develop the same love of PR that PRSSA helped us to develop. 

A VP’s insight (Karoline Etter): 

  screen-shot-2014-09-03-at-7-58-07-pmWhen I first joined PRSSA last January, I attended Regional conference at Boston University and my passion for the world of public relations skyrocketed at that event. There was no doubt in my mind that this was the path for me. Once the fall semester began and I was elected Vice President of our chapter, I drove myself crazy trying to figure out how we could create an experience that would get our chapter members as excited about PR as the officers. This proved difficult while working two jobs and being a full-time student, like Brooke. I found myself itching for another eye-opening experience that would spark my passion once more. 

National Conference was just what I needed to snap me out of my funk. Conferences are the most incredible experiences because you are immersed in this world of students and professionals who are doing exactly what you want to do. It’s truly inspiring to be surrounded by like-minded people who create such a motivating and uplifting environment. There were six members from our chapter who attended, and on the larger scale, there were over 1,000 students from across the country at this four-day event. The bonds that were created during these four days were incomparable to anything I could have imagined. Extending my personal network to Missouri, Utah, Illinois and every other chapter in between seems outlandish when I am from a small town in Massachusetts. However, when we all have that one interest in common, it is fascinating to see the relationships you can build. PRSSA is our special bond, our glue. 

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