Public relations club lets students network & learn

“It’s not only what you know; it’s who you know as well,” Professor Donn Tilson, advisor of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), said about the organization.

This Miami-sponsored student chapter of PRSSA provides opportunities to members who are studying public relations at UM through agency visits, professional mentors and networking events held throughout the school year.

In the past, PRSSA has visited agencies including the Latin American headquarters of Burston Marsteller and MTV Latin America, where the group was able to watch the MTV countdown live in the studio.

PRSSA also organizes an annual spring mixer in conjunction with the Miami Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

“It’s a social where everybody gets to meet a lot of professionals,” Tilson said. “It’s a great place for people to make contacts and get summer jobs and internships.”

According to those involved with the organization, membership in PRSSA enables students to attend the PRSSA National Conference and make important contacts all over the country.

“It’s a great networking and learning experience which rotates locations from coast to coast so that, wherever you are, you get to go at some point,” Tilson said.

“I think the best thing is definitely networking,” said Morgana Rolle, PRSSA national liason. “We’re hoping to attend the convention in November, visit PR firms and speak to professionals.”

“Unless you were in PRSSA, you wouldn’t be able to network at that level,” she said.

Speakers at this year’s conference will include Joshua Reynolds, vice president of client services at Applied Communications, as well as Tomeka S. Rawlings, director of public relations for the Navy League of the United States.

Another benefit of membership in the PRSSA is the chance to earn the national Gold Key award upon graduation.

In the past year, three students from UM received this prestigious public relations award.

“It serves as the ultimate recognition of your whole career in the club,” Tilson said.

For the past three years, the PRSSA has been holding a workshop on campus called PR101 which is open to all clubs and campus organizations.

During these workshops, media organizations on campus, including the television station, WVUM radio and the The Miami Hurricane, help the clubs and organizations in attendance to understand the particular qualities they look for when deciding what to publicize.

If you are interested in joining or would like to learn more about the PRSSA, please contact the PRSSA president, Abby Dwyer, at