Each spring, several Public Relations Student Society of America chapters across the nation host Regional Conferences. These events are planned and implemented by the hosting chapter, and endorsed by PRSSA National as a way to network and gain professional development skills. The upcoming Regional Conferences for Spring 2017 are being held at 10 separate locations: including Penn State University, Boston University, UNC-Chapel Hell and North Carolina A&T. Each hosting chapter has created an exciting theme for participants.
Regional Conferences are excellent opportunities for public relations students for several reasons, and are well worth the investment of time and funds. Here are five simple reasons to considering attending a Regional Conference:
Networking with professionals
At every Regional Conference, the hosting chapter will invite public relations practitioners to speak to and present their advice to excited students. They know that we are there because of our ambition and passion for public relations, so it is the perfect opportunity to introduce ourselves and leave a positive impression. If you feel particularly impacted by a presentation, tell the presenter. You never know who could be your future employer, or could throw your name in the ring someday.
Learning outside of the classroom
Knowledge gained at Regional Conference is practical knowledge. It is different from learning through your textbooks and professors – it is not just theory. Attending Regional Conference gives us the opportunity to see that theory in action, in real life and in the field. The speakers are seasoned professionals who have so much guidance to offer; it would be foolish to not take advantage of it.
Socializing with other public relations students
Whether they are from the hosting chapter, or a different institution in the region, Regional Conference is full of public relations students. Walk around and mingle. Even though they may not be graduates or professionals yet, socializing with other students is still a networking opportunity that can benefit you in the future. You may learn about an activity or idea that you can bring back with you to improve your own Chapter.
Staying updated on current events and tactics in the field
Regional Conferences are a great way to refresh your memory and maintain an active role in the field. The world of public relations and communication is constantly changing; frequent meetings with other professionals and students are a great way to keep track of a complex, dynamic work environment.
Exploring and expanding your horizons
This is college. Aside from all of the stress and pressure to build a professional portfolio and begin a career, there is also a sense of adventure and excitement. Take advantage of your chances to leave campus and visit new places. Talk to new people; make new friends. In a career field with so many possible outlets, you may not have even found your niche yet. Get out there.
Teghan Simonton is a sophomore with a dual major in public relations and journalism. She serves as the publicity chair for Waynesburg PRSSA and as managing editor for the award-winning Yellow Jacket student newspaper. She is an active member of Red Brick Communications and the Society of Professional Journalists. In her free time, Teghan is a member of the cross country and track teams.