Student Organization Spotlight: Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA)
The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) at NC State opens the door for members to launch their career before graduation by offering leadership roles, professional connections, and various annual events such as public relations (PR) day, as well as providing opportunities for students to learn about public relations beyond the classroom.
“PRSSA is a national association for students that serves to amplify its members about the profession of PR, as well as extend membership to all communications students because we’ve seen how majors can overlap,” Riley Berrier said.
Riley Berrier, president of PRSSA, and Katie Cusack, the event planner for PRSSA, believe that the association is a useful tool for all types of students who are interested in internships, conferences, and assemblies, as well for those who wish to expand their knowledge in the field.
“As a freshman coming into communication and public relations, I really had no idea what it was. I credit much of my knowledge to PRSSA. We talk to PR professionals, get real world experience, and connect with professionals around the world,” Katie Cusack said.
The association offers an annual PR day as well as agency tours. PR day is a full day of panels that include speakers from diverse professions who talk to students about their experiences in the field. These panels allow students to network with professionals as well as ask questions about the profession.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, PRSSA held their PR day virtually, “which allowed us to bring in professionals from all over the globe — London, Atlanta, some from New York. It was awesome to be so inclusive in this way,” Katie said. The virtual PR day not only allowed for a more diverse group of attendants, but made it possible for PRSA Georgia 40 under 40 and PRWeek 40 under 40 winner Dwayna Haley to be their keynote speaker. Additionally, students found the virtual breakout sessions somewhat less intimidating than face to face networking sessions.
As to what the chapter’s goals are for the future of PRSSA at NC State, Berrier said that the organization hopes to bring back student-run agencies and agency tours on a national level. Berrier remarked, “In 2019, we went to Washington D.C. and toured Ketchum, APCO, and Edelman, and it would be really awesome to do this every year.”
With a large NC State alumni network, the organization helps serve current undergraduates who are looking for guidance, internships, or jobs both before and following graduation. Says Berrier, “If you’re looking for a job outside of NC, chances are that someone who was a member is working there and we can connect you to them.”