FORUM Fall 2014 Vol. 47, Issue 1

Take Your Chapter to the National Level PRSSA 2014–2015 NATIONAL PRESIDENT Fall is almost here, and with it comes potential in the realm of PRSSA. You’ve started recruiting a new pool of bright-eyed students with an interest in public relations. You’ve planned Chapter meetings and secured guest speakers. You may have even started fundraising for upcoming events. If you have done all these things and still feel there is more to be done, it’s time to take your Chapter to the next level — the national level. This fall, grow your Chapter and engage with others by participating in as many national activities and initiatives as possible. NATIONAL EVENTS National events occur virtually and in person. National Conference is the largest physical gathering of PRSSA members, with approximately 1,000 attendees. Encourage your members to register for this year’s Conference in Washington, D.C., Oct. 10–14. Ask those who attend to present about their experience when they return so your entire Chapter can benefit from this incredible event. If your Chapter is unable to attend National Conference, members can connect virtually during any of PRSSA’s monthly Twitter chats. See our website for a list of upcoming chats. Although spring seems far away, keep National Assembly on your radar as well, especially as you budget and make long-term Chapter plans. NATIONAL INITIATIVES National Initiatives are at the heart of PRSSA. Participating in these initiatives will enhance your Chapter’s success and help your members gain a better understanding of the profession. These initiatives include participating in the annual Bateman Case Study Competition, starting a studentrun firm and writing for PRSSA publications. Set a goal now to complete as many initiatives as SEE NATIONAL, PAGE 2 OTTERBEIN UNIVERSITY not every day that part of your client’s SWOT analysis talks about being part of former East Germany,” said University of Oklahoma student Nathan Robertson. Robertson, along with three other students from University of Oklahoma, traveled to Erfurt, Germany this past May to present the results of an in-depth research project they completed for the Erfurt City Marketing Department. RESEARCH REAPS REWARDS The City Marketing Department selected the winning team, comprised of University of Oklahoma PRSSA seniors Katherine Brannen, Dusti Gasparovic, Katherine Fikes and Robertson. They competed against over 40 students enrolled in the university’s public relations research class. Students in the required course sought to discover why U.S. tourists go to Europe and Germany specifically. At the end of the semester, the winning team was asked to continue the research. The winning group’s research included 99 interviews, 10 focus groups and 441 survey respondents. CONNECTING WITH OTHER COUNTRIES Katerina Tsetsura, professor at the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma, public relations course for the fall 2014 semester, said Brannen. “International work experience is where the advantage lies today. Having a successful track record in two countries puts students in a position to justify an international career at an early stage of the career,” Robertson said. University of Oklahoma professor Katerina Tsetsura (left) poses in front of the City Tourism Office of Erfurt, Germany with students Katherine Fikes, Nathan Robertson and Katherine Brannen. The student team was chosen by the Erfurt City Marketing Department to present their international tourism research in person this past May. Photo courtesy of Tsetsura. evaluated the different group presentations and chose the top three to send to the client, who ultimately decided the winning team. The reward for the group was a trip to Erfurt to do addtional research and show a new presentation. The opportunity was possible because Tsetsura developed a relationship with the City of Erfurt. Tsetsura manages the Summer Program in Communication at Erfurt (SPICE) study abroad opportunity, Brannen explained. “After our research class and trip, I believe the college-client relationship strengthened tremendously,” Brannen said. INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE PROVES USEFUL The international nature of the project has given students a different perspective on public relations. “Practicing in a different country turns basic assumptions of public relations upside down,” Robertson said. “You are dealing with different audiences and different market realities. Knowing the basics is still vital, but it takes cultural knowledge to do public relations in another country.” The future outlook for international research projects is positive, as the City of Erfurt will continue to work with Tsetsura’s RAISING THE BAR FOR PRSSA Brannen hopes new ideas from the trip will inspire PRSSA members back on campus. One idea is to host research-themed Chapter meetings where members are given scenarios and assignments that will carry to subsequent meetings. Brannen believes this will give members a tangible way to improve their skills and gain a competitive edge over their classmates. “Sometimes I think we get in the routine of going through the motions, but I really want our PRSSA members to know there is so much opportunity right in front of them and to take it ... any chance they get,” Brannen said. “Whether that is going the extra mile for a class or working on a small project for someone, you never know what might come of it.” Click to see more photos from the Germany trip. Fashion Forward: A Lookbook for National Conference UNISEX If you’re planning on attending National Conference in Washington, D.C. — whether it be your first or last year — you need to be prepared to dress to impress. With such a star studded schedule of speakers, first im &W76