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.
By Neely Droessler
On the Sunday afternoon of October 27, two friends and myself attended the matinee showing of Les Miserable at the State Theatre in downtown Eau Claire.
My co-worker and one of Visit Eau Claire’s Fun Finders, Katherine was casted in the musical and enjoying the show was the perfect way to support her hard work. This would be my first time seeing a production at the State Theatre, one of Eau Claire’s artistic treasures.
I’ve always loved attending the theatre as well as performing in local productions during high school. I’ve seen Mary Poppins on Broadway, Wicked in Chicago and Cats in Madison among others. I’m by no means an expert in the inner workings of a production, but I do have experience in performing and a deep appreciation for the art.
I didn’t anticipate my experience at the State Theatre to be as professional and pleasant as it was. As we entered I was struck by the aged beauty of the theatre with its vaulted ceilings and carved wooden walls in the lobby. The theatre’s first performance was held in 1926, and I could feel the historic charm in everything from the chandeliers to the carpet.
In the lobby I noticed a crowd of middle-aged patrons waiting in line trying desperately to buy tickets. Other ticketholders walked around and mingled before the two and half hour show began. The employees seemed to remain as calm and friendly as possible while the crowd around them ensued.
The State Theatre, also known as the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center, is a beautiful facility. It holds 1,098 seats for local and national touring shows. The Les Miserable matinee was so popular that our ticket vouchers landed us seats in the way back of the room. It also provides a gallery space for local artists and sees about 100,000 patrons each year.
The lights dimmed and we knew the two and a half-hour musical was about to begin. Early on we noticed that all of the dialogue between characters was sung. I was impressed with how the actors moved and interacted with one another while singing the beautiful (high-pitched Opera) score.
My friends and I agreed the lead characters, especially Gina Cruciani who played the adult Cosette, were amazing on stage. Their powerful voices were accompanied with a symphony orchestra in the pit and multiple set changes.
The entire performance was engaging. During the “Master of the House” scene, which included most of the cast, the audience got to see cool costumes, dancing and drinking from 1823 France. The townswomen, including Visit Eau Claire’s Katherine Rapacz, were boisterous and fun.
All in all, Les Miserable was a phenomenal performance. The State Theatre provided a beautiful backdrop for the professional production. The actors truly molded into their roles and brought this tragic story to life. Brava to the cast and crew, you created a wonderful Sunday outing.
By Nate Ejuwa
“Whats your name, lets connect!” is a phrase i heard and used countless times at the PRSSA National Conference in Philadelphia. We all know that networking is a key part of our profession. Connecting and having a strong network around you is often times the deciding factor in the success of a PR professionals career. We’ve all heard the phrase;
“it’s not what you know, but who you know.”
However this last week at my first PRSSA National Conference i met some great people, and moved closing to understanding why the phrase should go;
“It’s not who you know, but who knows you.”
First of all, let me explain to you what this conference was all about. On the surface, it is a group of motivated students who see an opportunity to gain a stronger position in their future profession, gathering together everyday to attend speakers, workshops, and meet professionals in the field of Public Relations. However, the structured events and speakers were really only half of the experience. Over the five days spent i would conjecture that i was handed at minimum 100 to 150 business cards in 4 and a half days of conference. This is my point of contention. Is this informal mode of connecting really an acceptable way to establish a connection with someone? Does the use of a business card as a disposable flyer really end up in meaningful relationships? I believe the answer is often times no, but i also believe that sometimes, it can be.
I think its important that we address this issue. I learned alot about networking at conference but this one really stood out to me. Maybe we can even save a few trees along the way.
Here are the do’s and don’ts in business card exchange.
1. Do: Have your business card with you at all times. First impressions are everything, and in our field of work there really is no excuse. You never know who you’re going to meet so be sure to have at least one with you.
2. Don’t: Just because you cross paths with that big name account executive, in passing or even in the elevator does not mean you should whip out your card. Try to establish a situation where they are asking you for it.
3. Do: You should absolutely have your Email & Twitter on your card, these are powerful tools of connection and seem to be the most preferred mediums in which to connect initially with new people.
4. Don’t: Put your personal cell phone number on your card. If you work for a company put the companys number where they can reach you on it. Some people believe there is nothing wrong with putting your personal cell phone number on a card however in my personal opinion it’s not something that should be a requirement. Once you establish a connection over social media or through email, the cell phone number can be exchanged then.
5 Do: Include a personal touch on your card. Instead of the simple “name & contact” format, you should add your own personal touch on your card. Things like a picture, a quote, or a short message or the shape of your card can make it stand out. Find a way to make your company or your “brand” apparent and you will surely succeed.
6 Don’t: Be too plain. In contrast to the above “do” if your are too plain you will blend into the walls. When i’m going through business cards, all the same size, all rectangles i’m likely to forget who gave which to me. Okay sure, your name is on it, but if i have to look you up then chances are i won’t get that far. The ones that are remembered will come first.
7 Do: File your business cards right away. If someone gives you their card they may be expecting to hear from you. Be sure to save the contact in your device immediately.
8 Don’t: Ask every single person you meet for their card. You will be overwhelmed with small pieces of paper and will undoubtedly confuse them. Pick and choose whose card you ask for and who you give your card to. Remember that by handing your card over you are extending yourself, indicating your desire to open up a line of communication is something that should be considered beforehand.
It really is simple but often times these things are forgotten. Going to this conference brought me to an understanding of how important these things can be. Through them, i hope you understand why i believe the phrase should be:
“It’s not who you know, but who knows you.”
Because a business card, without any real connection, is often times just another face in the crowd.
Lets stand out.
By Alison Burdick-Evenson
At PRSSA National Conference the two meetings I found most beneficial were the Secrets of Media Pitching with Michael Smart and the fashion seminar with Rakia Reynolds, founder of Skai PR Agency and Kristin Detterline, editor and chief of Philadelphia Style magazine.
Let’s recap what I learned:
Media pitching is not what it used to be. In order to engage the public, there are various platforms to master across traditional media and social media. That means the media contacts you have are getting emails, tweets and Facebook comments with story ideas all the time. Now more than ever, we have to make our email stand out with a pitch that the media knows the public will care about. That’s earned media and it sets us apart from paid advertising.
Michael Smart made the statement “you need to know how to take something that looks boring and recreate it according to what is popular.” This is the most practical advice I’ve been given thus far. Smart makes the point that in order to make what you are promoting relevant, it is best to tie it into a trend that people already care about. Use a celebrity, use a fad or use an upcoming event – but make it matter.
Fashion is everywhere. It’s a lifestyle – much like public relations. According to Rekia Reynolds, you must always know what is seasonal, topical and relevant in the fashion industry. That means doing your homework. These days it is not enough to be fashionable yourself or to know what current trends are happening. Be ahead of the game. Reynolds says that it’s about predicting the future trends and then understanding how to present them to the public on behalf of your client.
“You must be a constant fashion resource,” Reynolds said. “Make people think you’re right all of the time.” Although this comment is specifically tailored to the fashion world, you can apply this idea to every platform you go into. Research is imperative. You are invaluable if you consistently know more than other people – stay ahead.
PRSSANC was a blast; I learned more than I can share in one blog post. So, If you want to learn more, visit the PRSSANC webpage where they will soon post podcasts and information from national conference.