Liberty’s chapter of PRSSA receives generous grant from Blue Ridge PRSA

Her resume made it to the top of the stack of hundreds of others applying for the job. She prepared and prepared some more for the interview to come. As the interview starts, one of the first things that the interviewer asks is whether or not Lydia Nichols was part of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). The answer to that could determine how the rest of the interview goes. 

PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) was founded in 1967 by a group of professors of different universities seeking to help and equip students for their journey in public relations and communications. It has now grown to be an international association of more than 10,000 students.

“Employers want people who have been involved with the PRSSA because it shows you’re dedicated to the profession but also that you are bettering yourself,” Allana Dorsett, president of the PRSSA at Liberty University said. 

Board members (Photo by Kasey Lange)

The PRSSA at Liberty is one of the chapters, or groups that exist within the association in different universities around the world, including countries such as Perú, Colombia and Argentina.

“I honestly believe that (PRSSA) is the best professional development club on campus, students of all majors benefit from our networking events,” Nichols, vice president of the PRSSA at Liberty University, said. 

Throughout the semester, club meetings host workshops and speakers who specialize in different areas of public relations and communications and networking opportunities. 

“We try to make the meetings workshops so that they are hands on and you are actually doing something while you are there,” Dorsett said. 

This association of 30 members recently received a first time grant from the Blue Ridge chapter of PRSA (Public Relations Society of America), allowing them to improve their meetings.

“It just adds to our overall budget which allows us to put on better events for our students, so we better facilitate hospitality,” Nichols said. 

Now with the resources given to them, the board of the PRSSA is planning to create more and better opportunities to develop themselves and get experience in different tasks that could be given to them in the field. 

“We want to make sure you are taking the knowledge that you are learning in the classroom and applying it in real life, so you can show it to future employers,” Dorsett said. 

One of the events they are planning includes helping different clubs around campus promote themselves, and it would give members of the association a chance to exercise their public relations skills through those clubs. 

“Our workshops are really helpful just in developing skills, building relationships through the club and kind of working in a more professional team environment,” Nichols said. 

Another opportunity available to students is to apply to be an associate with Innovations PR, a nationally-affiliated student-run firm that allows students to gain experience in the professional field by working with clients in the Lynchburg area. 

The requirement for PRSSA membership includes a fee that will grant access to the PRSSA member benefits, including networking opportunities with events and a job bank. Nichols recommends that anyone interested in joining PRSSA should come and see what the organization has to offer. 

“I would definitely say if you are doing anything in the PR industry, and you don’t have PRSSA in your resume, you are probably not going to get the job (because) it is that big of an association,” Nichols said.  

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