I am from Detroit. I love Detroit. I am proud that we hosted this year’s PRSA 2008 International Conference. After over a year of anticipation, I can honestly say that it surpassed my expectations. Being that I was a member of the PRSSA 2008 National Conference: Driven to Distinction planning committee, it may seem somewhat out of place to think that way, but for any student planning an event of this magnitude, it is impossible to imagine the outcome.
Out of all the events planned for the Conference, I must say I was looking forward to the PRSA opening night reception the most. For some it was the excitement of the band, and for others the food, but for me it was the ability to stand next to the professionals that I one day hope to be. Each person I spoke to was inviting and excited for the opportunity that this event presented. Granted I loved the band and the food, but most of all I loved the networking. A while back when I was researching joining PRSSA I found this on the Web site: “In 1968, 20 years after its own establishment, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) founded the Public Relations Student Society of America. The declared purpose of PRSSA is to cultivate a favorable and mutually advantageous relationship between students and professional public relations practitioners.” After much reflection I believe this event, and for that matter this Conference, encompassed all that our professional and student societies have been striving for. As I walked from place to place during this event I saw students and professionals engaged in conversation and exchanging laughs as though they had known one another for years.
In the days since the Conference, I have asked many students what the highlight of the Conference was for them, and without fail they mention the PRSA/PRSSA opening night reception. Not one mentioned the food and few mentioned the band, but each and every one pointed out the benefit of what PRSA called “mutually advantageous relationships.” So, thank you PRSA for making this possible. For many it made the Conference experience top notch.
By Jared Bryan, communications director, PRSSA 2008 National Conference, president of the PRSSA James S. Measell Chapter and a senior at Wayne State University studying public relations.
For coverage of the PRSA 2008 International Conference: The Point of Connection, visit www.prsa.org/conf2008. To join the conversation on the PRSSA 2008 National Conference: Driven to Distinction, visit www.prssa.org/blog/.
Having attended a total of four conferences throughout my collegiate career, I agree that the PRSA opening night reception was one of the most valuable opportunities that the PRSSA Conference had to offer.
Since my involvement in PRSSA this was the first time that students were able to network with professionals in a setting where we weren’t being rushed or hunting like reporters trying to get interviews from Barack Obama and John McCain on election night.
The relaxed setting provided the opportunity to network with many full-time professionals on a personal level, which is also important, too. I saw some CEOs, VPs and Account Executives laughing hysterically — others letting out their youthful side as they cheered, jumped and screamed beside students while Day 26 performed. That is something students are unlikely to get during an interview or communicating via telephone and e-mail. . . And it was all done in good taste, with much talk about professional endeavors, too.
I didn’t personally conduct a survey, but much of the feedback from students attending the event seemed to agree. If there is one thing that should be sustained for future conferences, it should be the PRSA International Conference Opening Night Reception.