By Anna Moegenburg
It was a sunny day, and I was feeling particularly nervous. I wasn’t sure how my life would pan out after this day, and I only had a few hours to make some big decisions. It was my first Blugold Organizations Bash. It was time to choose which organizations to be a part of during my college career. I picked up the pen, signed my name on the sign-up sheet, stole some goodies and left, never realizing the power that signature would have on my life.
Spending my freshman year in the organization was intimidating. All of the older students were welcoming, but they were so powerful in the industry already. Someone had a PR internship, and a few people stood out to me on the executive board that I wanted to be like someday.
After gaining confidence to attend more events and become more involved, including accepting the secretary position my sophomore year, I could feel it changing my life- literally. My outlook on life was more defined. I felt I had a purpose at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire: To help others find their passions in the communications industry and assist them in any way possible.
PRSSA has given me more than I could have ever imagined, including:
- A national student and professional network. PRSSA is linked to people across the nation, so I’m always meeting new people and discovering new things about the PR industry through other people.
- Countless events. The organization has an internship database, conferences (regional and national) and local chapter events that have improved my chances of long-run success.
- Leadership opportunities. Whether a student chooses to be involved in a leadership position at a local or national level, opportunities to lead people with the same interests as you are everywhere.
Who would have thought that one signature freshman year would bring me two significant leadership roles, the chance to fly across the country three times and so much more. I am forever grateful that UW-Eau Claire’s Communication and Journalism Department offers PRSSA as an organization. The UW-Eau Claire PRSSA chapter continues to give students great experiences, and it recently added a student-run firm. I can’t wait to see where the organization goes in the next few years.
By Katie Dean Miller
This past weekend I attended my first PRSSA national event- the 2014 PRSSA National Assembly in Charleston, South Carolina. This 4-day trip was one of the best experiences I feel so honored to have had.
The city- I’ve always believed that I belong to live down south and I could definitely see myself living in Charleston. The city was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The historic district was gorgeous with its architecture, colored buildings, and cobblestone streets that led right to the Atlantic Ocean. Although we had to depend on taxis and shuttles to get downtown, it was worth the money. The people and city were so lively and colorful. You could hear music in every direction and the amount of delicious food was limitless. The thing I loved most about this city was that every house and apartment had a balcony. If I ever stumble upon a couple million dollars- an apartment in historic Charleston will be the first residence I buy.
Now, the actual conference:
The ideas- Our first morning of the conference we had Chapter Officer sessions. I attended the meeting with chapter secretaries, treasurers, and webmasters. Here we had an open discussion about problems different chapters had and tried to gain insight on what worked with other chapters. In this session it gave me a lot of ideas to advance our own chapter at UW- Eau Claire. There are a lot of new things for our chapter to try next fall and we can use other chapters as an example.
The leadership sessions- After the Chapter Officer sessions we segued into leadership sessions. The topics we covered were: 1) Leading with Integrity, 2) Discovering the Leader in You, and 3) Member Benefits. In each of these discussions we talked about being ethical within our career and in PRSSA, the traits it takes to be an effective leader, and the all of the many benefits that come from being a part of PRSSA.
The speakers- We heard from many exceptional professionals throughout the assembly. Each of them had different stories and are at different points in their PR career. The first night we heard from three different pros all in different stages of their careers- beginning, middle, and end. They all had valuable words of wisdom to give us all. The next day we heard from GolinHarris CEO Fred Cook who gave us life-long advice about our lives and careers. Finally, the morning before we all departed to our parts of the country, we heard from John Deveney of Deveney Communications about the value of internships (they’re looking for interns in New Orleans!).
The wonderful people I was able to meet- Last, but not least, all of the extraordinary people I had the pleasure of meeting throughout this journey. The first connection I made was with a girl named Payton from Western Kentucky University and we met in the Chicago airport. Everyone at this assembly was so friendly and we all shared a passion for PR. We were all able to share our experiences and goals openly while building lasting relationships. This was my favorite thing about National Assembly.
I am hooked to PRSSA national events. There are so many lessons to be learned and people to meet. Every member of PRSSA should be able to benefit from these types of events.
By Alison Burdick-Evenson
Two weekends ago, Columbia College Chicago hosted a regional PRSSA conference. Anna Moegenburg and I had the fortune to attend this fantastic event. The conference was a two-day event including an agency tour with Gollin Harris, a case study competition at Ogilvy, a cocktail hour networking event and four professional speakers. I’ve got to hand it to the Columba College PRSSA group, they nailed it! The event was organized and executed flawlessly.
Chicago is the perfect place for PR if you want the city experience without the price of Los Angeles or New York. Right now, the up-and-coming area of expertise for Chicago is (drum roll, please)… food! That’s right – if you love to eat, you know your favorite food brands and you’ve ever fantasized about being a professional taste tester, Chicago is the place for you to practice Public Relations.
Golin Harris, the agency we toured Friday morning, currently has a strong hand on the food market. My favorite campaign they’ve created in the food industry is their work with OVO in France. Check out the campaign here: Turning Product Trial into Adultery. The offices are located right in downtown Chicago and being situated on the 26th floor gives them an amazing view of the city. I think this is an outstanding agency and I’m happy I had the chance to take a sneak peek into their behind-the-scenes.
Another well-known agency with one location in Chicago is Ogilvy, where the PRSSA regional conference hosted the case study. Talk about an amazing experience. There were about 50 of us (PRSSA members), we were divded into five teams and given a client to rebrand. Then, we had the opportunity to present our campaign ideas to a panel of judges from Ogilvy including their social media Director. How crazy is that?! It was a blast and I learned a lot about my own creative process.
On day two of the conference, we were invited to one of the campus buildings to listen to three speakers as well as a keynote address. All of the speakers were incredible people with brilliant advice for us up-and-coming PR hopefuls. However, the one speaker who stood out most to me for the amount of practical advice was Roland Cailles, the Director of Social Media at Superfly Presents. He spoke about being a millennial in the work place and the preconceived notions that will meet us at every office door. Unfortunately, our generation has a bad reputation in the work place. He gave us pointers on how to separate ourselves from the heard and outlined a system to check our own bad habits in behaviors we might not be aware of yet. As a senior about to graduate, I appreciated his honest and advice. I may not know exactly what to do yet but I will know what not to do.
Overall, this conference provided me with an incredible weekend, an overwhelming amount of new information and some fabulous new friends.
Art and writing by Laura Dachel
What is an advertising major and marketing minor doing in PRSSA? This is probably a fair question considering UW-Eau Claire has an advertising organization otherwise known as AdFed and even a marketing club, AMA. I thought the exact same thing a year ago when my friend and I were deciding what organizations we were interested in joining at Eau Claire.
When I started going to UW-Eau Claire it was really hard to get to know people because I was a commuter student. Living and working in Chippewa Falls did not give me a lot of free time to be a part of anything after school.
After spending the first three years of college working, I decided enough was enough and I decided to get an internship. I interned for 7 months at a photography studio as a creative designer. This job opened me up to the possibilities outside of advertising that I had never thought of, such as event and strategic planning.
It was in the upcoming weeks of the Fall 2013 semester when I realized I wanted to finally join an organization that was related to my major. I wasn’t able to join AdFed because it conflicted with a night class so I decided to join PRSSA.
I had only taken one introductory PR class so I hoped I knew enough about the field to join a club revolving around it. I even made use of my experience as a designer at my internship and ended up as the lead graphic designer for the Public Relations Committee.
When looking at the fields of Advertising, Marketing, Public Relations, and Graphic Design, they all seem very unique and individual but are a lot more interrelated than you think.
In today’s fast paced society, PR and advertising come together to help communicate in the growing digital and social world. Social media and technology are blurring the lines between the two fields to the point where there can’t be one without the other.
Coming from an advertising and marketing mindset, I am learning a lot about the PR field from being involved in PRSSA. Having opportunities to network, professional skill building sessions, and learning how to be a professional will make me more well-rounded when it comes to the mass communication environment.
PR is apart of almost every form of media today. Regardless of my major, the skills I will learn from being involved with this group will definitely follow me after I graduate and begin to apply for jobs in the future.
I’m so glad I joined PRSSA. There are so many wonderful people involved in this organization that it makes me proud of being member.
Writing and photography by Cassie Rudd
The semester has finally begun here at UW-Eau Claire!
As January finally comes to a close a new semester full of exciting adventures and events have begun. Kicking off UW-Eau Claire’s spring art was a series of performances called Cabaret.
Cabaret is an event put on by the music department found in the Hass Fine Arts building. In these series of performances choir and band kids get together and put on the performance of a lifetime.
What makes this performance special? It is all student run!
Starting in April every year, students get together to design the whole show. They arrange music, choreograph numbers, design costumes and start putting together sets to go with a specific theme.
The theme this year’s performance was Cabaret Bookstore! Each of the numbers had the theme of a certain genre of book: horror, action, romance etc.
Included is a photo of the Singing Statesmen, the all male choral ensemble on campus. The men wooed the crowed with their touching ballads and their…creative… dance moves.
Cabaret showcased 3 of the choral ensembles found on campus, Concert Choir, The Singing Statesmen, and Women’s Concert Chorale.
What is unique is that each of these groups have their own image. The guys in the Singling Statemens are silly. The girls of Women’s Concert chorale rock multiple hair flips showing off their sass. Concert Choir is strong vocally and shows off exciting partner dancing and strong vocal arrangements.
The amount of energy found in the show was a great way to start the new semester.
Cabaret did a wonderful job of showcasing the outrageous amount of talent that Eau Claire has. I can proudly say, “I’M A BLUGOLD”!
By Neely Droessler
In the time I’ve been a student at UW-Eau Claire I’ve become involved in all kinds of things: jobs, organizations, an internship, attending classes, building friendships, traveling, etc. Living in Eau Claire has been amazing, but extremely busy. On the rare occasion I can get away from my commitments for a full weekend, I love spending it in my hometown, Stoughton, WI.
Stoughton is a quick 15-minute drive to the East side of Madison and was the perfect small-town atmosphere to grow up in. One of the best parts of growing up was my high school/college/current part-time job at Point Java Coffee Shop and Boutique. I was hired when I was 15 years old and had to have my mom drive me to my work shifts.
Point Java, and all of the people I worked with there became a huge part of my life. I adore the charming and cozy atmosphere filled with friends, conversation and coffee. Sitting down at Point Java with a warm drink and pastry will remain my favorite pastime when I’m home.
Point Java itself features premium coffee made from European Roasteries beans and a tasty selection of breakfast pastries such as muffins and doughnuts from Oakhouse Bakery in Madison.
A cup of coffee is less expensive then most chain coffee shops, and the coffee simply tastes better. The atmosphere inside Point Java is comfortable with soft cozy chairs and soft lighting. The mere fact that Point Java is a small local business makes it feel personal and friendly.
Needless to say, coming in to work at there has never been a chore. Point Java is located off Main Street in Stoughton at 101 Silverado Drive. During the busy morning hours the line for the drive-thru window will stretch out to the street.
I used to love sipping coffee, greeting all of our regular customers, and making all different kinds of drinks during these busy mornings. There’s even a drive-thru phone number you can call to have your order ready when you get to the window.
Point Java used to primarily coffee, but now you can check out a huge selection of scarves, jewelry, purses, blankets, children’s clothes and shoes as you sip your drink. It’s open seven days a week and always prepped with fresh coffee and a great selection of stuff to buy for yourself or for as a gift.
One of the coolest parts about Point Java is it’s now owned by Jenny, a friend and co-worker of mine in high school. Jenny Olson purchased the shop in 2012 and continues to grow and improve its charm and customer service. Since purchasing the shop, Jenny has completely remodeled the interior and has added an adorable boutique aspect.
I can’t say how much I love this little treasure in Stoughton. If you love the charm and coffee as much as I do, your stops to Point Java may just become a regular occurrence.
By Carlyn Johnson
As I sit here at MAC-OL1108-10 in the 24-hour lab pondering what to write my blog about, writing down insignificant sentences about how early Christmas decorations and music started this year, about a month ago to be honest, only to delete and start again.
My mind can’t help but to stop and think about how stressed I am with projects, papers, exams, and how registering for classes is a project in its own. Its almost painful to think about anything else, let alone Christmas. I know, that’s terrible, but my mind hasn’t wrapped around that idea yet. It’s December and Christmas is in 23 days. Winter has come. Must study. Must work on projects. My finals are on this day and this day, this is when I should study, more projects and more studying. I have way too many other things to think about and do.
Attempting to write about the spirit of Christmas is oddly difficult.
I lose my train of thought about all the good things to come because I’m so wrapped up in all that I have to do or some drama happening. No wonder SAD is a thing in the wintertime, we’re all so wrapped up in the chaos and stressing over the clutter that fills our heads that we don’t and don’t think about stopping and enjoying the little things.
For example, today, it was beautiful out with the giant snowflakes falling to the ground catching us in a serene setting as if we were all in a snow globe, but because my mind is clouded with all the madness occurring with classes and the negative mood I put myself in, I couldn’t enjoy it. I was too worried about slipping and have a melt down that I wasn’t able to realize and take in the gloriousness of the winter wonderland that has taken over Eau Claire.
So I find myself writing incessantly about finals and the toll it takes on a student.
I don’t know how it seems that the last two weeks feel like the entire semester is being crammed into it. That every student is pulling their hair out and having mental break downs because so much is thrown at them within these next two weeks.
Plus, registering for classes is tossed in the mix. The pressure of getting into required classes and even just classes in general that every one has to take is like the hunger games, except more than just one wins, but you get what I mean. It’s a fight for classes.
I think its safe to say, if you’re a student and feeling overwhelmed with school, work, and outside stressors, know you aren’t alone. It’s two or three weeks of putting your heart and soul into everything you must do. Go out with a bang, and rock every task in your way because the reward is certainly a good one, Christmas and a month of relaxation.
Tip: Don’t forget to take breaks and enjoy the little thing like hot chocolate and a warm blanket. Trust me, it’ll make the weeks a whole lot better. It’ll be nice to take your mind off the crazy also.
From a fellow student, Good Luck, Have a great last few weeks of classes, Own your finals and “May the odds be ever in your favor!” J (Cheesy I know, but its seemed fitting since Catching Fire came out and I referenced it.)
By Carlyn Johnson
Photo by Laura Dachel
It feels like just yesterday I was driving to Eau Claire for my first year at a new college with my family with exuberance and excitement.
It feels like I just moved in and everything is still a mess. I don’t know where anything goes in my room, nor does anything have a proper spot. Things are just thrown in random places. It feels like I’ve had barely anytime to get settled in.
The days are just flying by. I’ve been here almost three months, yet it feels like a week. It’s already almost Thanksgiving break. Then three weeks after that, its Winter break. I’m already almost 3/8 done with my college semesters and my friends are almost halfway through their freshmen year of college. Where has the time gone and what have I been spending it on?
It’s incredible how long a day can seem, how time can move so slow, but when you put it into perspective of a week, or a month, or even a year, it all just went by within a blink of an eye.
One minute you’re a senior in high school, with a narrow view of how life is, then the summer rolls by and before you know it, your exploring a whole new place and meeting new people while broadening your mind to new experiences. You go through all these ups and downs, where you’re homesick and then you’re not because you’re having an amazing time with friends. Then the next minute you’re stressed about an exam or homework. Time just slips away while you’re preoccupied with all these tasks that before you finally can catch a breath, you’re home for Winter break. Where everything falls back into place with the life you left behind. You can finally relax.
Surprisingly, you look back then and are amazed that a semester flew by and you have no idea what you did.
You had to stop and think about all the exploring you did, whether it was in a class, or in your dorm, with a friend or by yourself, you’re just stuck trying to remember. You oddly know you accomplished so much within such a small amount of time, but recalling what you did, is a task in itself. It’s crazy thinking about, but it excites you because you get to go back and do it again seven more times.
Even right now, writing this blog, I have no idea what I’ve done this semester as a sophomore transfer student. I’m in my third semester of college. I graduated high school almost two years ago. I have changed so much and have experienced so much within just two years, let alone in my 20 years of life.
It’s funny to look back at things, and how much change can occur just from going from high school and the mentality that high school students carry to the mentality of being in a college and being a college student, on your own and doing your own thing.
I like to think of time in just that way, the amount of change that occurs from the amount of experiences someone takes to develop and grow, and be successful because there is so much more to life than just days on a calendar or hours on a clock.
By Anna Moegenburg
This question raced through my mind the entire trip to Philadelphia. Sure, I learned a lot about the public relations industry and could go on for hours and chat about it. But I think the most important lessons I learned at the conference were about what I want in life.
Philadelphia isn’t for me. Everyone else seemed to be basking in the greatness of the city of brotherly love while I was crossing it off of my potential places to live in life. It’s a phenomenal tourist city with a rich history, but there are so many other places that appeal more to me. Second, my future employers should value my work-life fit. “Work-life fit” means that work and life shouldn’t be two separate entities, and that they should work together to form who you are. It’s the newest term for work-life balance. If an employer doesn’t care about striving for a healthy lifestyle outside of work, then it’s difficult to maintain one in the office. I vow to be healthy in and out of work.
Being healthy means stepping away from technology. At conference, so many people were on their phones. All. The. Time. I found myself snooping through Twitter and texting people in Eau Claire at times, I’ll admit it. But the people that were always connected were never able to fully experience a new/revisited culture. Maybe you’ve seen the Film’s For Action video on constant phone interaction. That’s what conference felt like at times. Maintaining an online presence during the conference was crucial to connecting with people, but so many attendees missed out on face-to-face interaction.
Learning what you don’t want in life is as important as focusing on what you do want.
By Hillary Crusan
While the official theme for the 2013 PRSSA National Conference was “Foundation for Innovation,” I found that many speakers had a more important, more life-encompassing message to deliver. It was uttered multiple times throughout the five days of the conference during presentations, but more likely during the Q&A’s afterward. The question was usually a variation of, “How did you deal with all of the obstacles you faced to find the success you have today?” The answer was always the same.
The only obstacles that get in your way are the ones you allow.
Mary Beth West, APR was asked during the “A Conversation with Living Legends” keynote address how she had overcome the male-dominated culture of business ownership to form her 100 percent woman-owned public relations firm, Mary Beth West Communications. Her response was simple.
Don’t think of yourself as a woman, think of yourself as a professional. Break down the barriers and let nothing hold you back
Perhaps the best embodiment of this message was Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour. This woman, officially a speaker at the PRSA International Conference being held across the street, had been through every obstacle imaginable as she rose through the ranks in the United States Marine Corps to become the first female, African American combat pilot. FlyGirl faced a whole new set of obstacles after her two tours in Iraq as she launched a successful company and career as a keynote speaker. She built on West’s message, making it more all encompassing.
Acknowledge the obstacles, do not give them power.
She recounted her experience while empowering us with the idea that if she could do it, we could do it. I left that room feeling incredibly motivated.
I began to understand why many of the speakers seemed almost alarmed when they were asked the inevitable overcoming obstacles question. The conference attendees were a people obsessed with how to overcome problems they had not even faced yet. The speakers could tell we needed to hear that worrying about imaginary future obstacles would only weaken our ability to deal with them.
After letting their messages soak in I stopped letting arbitrary, unchangeable facts get the best of me. As a result, I finally feel like I am prepared to face and overcome whatever gets in my way.