PRSSA

Building a Legacy: In Memory of Dr. Leonard Hooper

The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is an inherent part of who we are as public relations students. It’s the link between us and the profession.  We owe this connection to a man who helped establish PRSSA more than 47 years ago. Dr. Leonard J. Hooper, the inaugural UF PRSSA faculty adviser, accepted the first PRSSA charter on April 26, 1968 -- just 22 days after the creation of the University of Florida Alpha Chapter of PRSSA. Then only nine Chapters strong, PRSSA has grown to more than 300 Chapters internationally with more than 11,000 student members.

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With great sadness, we write about the passing of Dr. Hooper at the age of 91 on Aug. 20, 2015. We honor his legacy every day by working to make our Chapter a resource for every student interested in pursuing public relations.

"Although I never had the honor of meeting professor Hooper in person, I'll be forever affected by his actions,” said Jenny Fenig, 1998-1999 UF PRSSA president. “PRSSA changed my life. I directly credit that organization for giving me the skills, connections and wings to start my public relations career at a global agency in New York City.”

His dedication to teaching and to the profession trailblazed a path for students to find their niche in the burgeoning public relations industry.

"PRSSA is more than an organization. It's a network that gives students the opportunity to see their potential and grow into successful young professionals,” said Adara Ney, 2013-2014 UF PRSSA president. “The UF Chapter shaped me into the person and professional I am today and for that I am forever grateful.”

Dr. Hooper joined the University of Florida in 1964, after earning a Ph.D. from the University of Southern Illinois. He spent 27 years teaching at UF, focusing his efforts in radio, television and ethics in advertising.

“I wish I had known Dr. Hooper. I owe him a debt of gratitude; we all do,” said Kay Tappan, UF PRSSA faculty advisor. “In founding one of the first PRSSA chapters in the nation, he left an amazing legacy that has benefitted countless students at the University of Florida.”

Our thoughts are with his family. May he rest in peace.

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You can read the obituary for Dr. Hooper here

This post was written by Josh Ferrari, 2015-2016 UF PRSSA president

Spreading Diversity #withPRSSA

Happy Diversity Awareness Month from UF PRSSA! Diversity is crucial to the success of any organization, and PRSSA is no different. We take care to ensure that our Chapter is inclusive and representative of students from many different backgrounds, beliefs and viewpoints because we understand that our strengths often lie in our differences. In order to make our Chapter as inclusive as possible, we encourage students from all grade and skill levels to become members. We hold membership rallies in the beginning of both the Fall and Spring semesters to inform students about the benefits that PRSSA can offer them. We reach out to all colleges within the University of Florida to recruit members in order to make sure that our Chapter is comprised of students from many different backgrounds, with many different interests, talents and perspectives. This year we are very excited about reaching out to students at Santa Fe College as well! We will be sending out emails on Santa Fe's college-wide listserve and tabling on their campus to inform them about PRSSA. We also work hard to keep our membership dues as low as possible to make sure that all students can afford to be part of our Chapter.

Internally, our Chapter strives for full inclusion among members. We are taking a bus to National Conference this year to cut back on transportation costs because we believe that every PRSSA member should have the opportunity to attend this event. We host diversity events throughout the year to make sure that all members fully grasp the importance of celebrating our differences. This past spring, our Chapter, in conjunction with Alpha PRoductions, presented a "Diversity in Public Relations" panel-style discussion. The panel featured four leaders and advocates of diversity in the communications field who discussed issues such as inclusion of diverse races, ethnicities, backgrounds, genders and disabilities in the field and in our personal lives. In addition to the panel, we used a hashtag to get members involved in Twitter and actively discussing what diversity meant to them.

To UF PRSSA, diversity is more than just a quota to be filled - it's a way of living that recognizes that we are stronger, smarter and better together; that inclusion, diversity and synergy are more powerful than exclusion, uniformity and individualism; that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

This post was written by Torri Macarages, Vice President of Chapter Development

New Position Opening- Director of External Relations

Want to get more involved in UF PRSSA?

We have an opening available- Apply to become our next Director of External Relations today!

Some responsibilities of the position include:

  • Working with Executive Board to strategize semester recruitment
  • Assisting VP of Chapter Development in reaching out to other organizations on campus and planning class visits for recruitment
  • Strategizing with executive board to determine sources of potential new members
  • Maintaining relationships with campus organizations
  • Communicating and collaborating with College of Journalism and Communications organizations

For the general application, click here.

For the election packet and requirements, click here.

Applicants can email the application materials to Sara Jane Wilder at swilder.prssa@gmail.com

North Florida PRSA Luncheon Experience

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By Jessica Albert, UF PRSSA Member PRVille

I had the opportunity to “Meet the Media” at a luncheon with the North Florida PRSA chapter in Jacksonville on Wednesday Oct. 16. Our parent chapter invited leading people in the media so practitioners could develop contacts with the people that they could potentially pitch ideas to for their clients.

The event was extremely beneficial to me as a public relations senior because I was able to see how I could connect with local media in my career. I gained valuable insight and was able to network with local professionals who actually practice the skills I’m learning about.

During the session, I heard a number of ways the media likes to receive pitch ideas and how we could effectively send out press releases.  Public relations is such a diverse field that we as future practitioners should prepare to expect almost anything.

After graduating, I would strongly consider joining a chapter of PRSA. The meetings are usually scheduled once a month, and the networking opportunities are truly amazing. Just at the one luncheon I met so many interesting people and talked with fellow Gators. I heard personal experiences and found that my public relations degree can take me anywhere.

2012 PRSSA National Conference in San Francisco: Bridging the Gap

 This year PRSSA held its National Conference in San Francisco with the motto “Bridging the Gap.” The whole point was to bridge the gap between pre-professionals in public relations and others who are already working in the industry. Needless to say, the 2012 National Conference did that – and so much more for me.
       The first day of sessions started off with Timothy Jordan, a senior developer advocate for Google, as the keynote speaker. His speech gave insight into what the future of online communication can be and why it’s important to use online tools to promote business while still maintaining a close connection with friends.

     After this, it was time for roll call of all the attending PRSSA chapters. While standing on ballroom chairs, UF PRSSA did a cheer and gator chomped, finally finishing it all off by Tebowing. That’s one of the great things I noticed about going to National Conference: it brings your chapter together and you learn to support each other.
     The fantastic thing about how conference works? There are several sessions at a time and you get to choose to go to the ones that best fit your interests and curiosities. Oh boy, was I glad I chose to go to Media Training featuring President and CEO Trahan Associates, Joseph V. Trahan III.
     Trahan was so enthusiastic. He spoke about his career in the military and handling public affairs in government. He also gave tips on how to direct to the media and how to prep others to do the same. Some of his advice was to always show sympathy/concern in times of strife and to never settle for a generic phrase that just any spokesperson can say. He remained animated throughout his entire presentation and that allowed me to retain so much of his information. I was really glad I chose to hear him speak.
     I could go on and on about every speaker, but the main aspect of National Conference is that you truly learn so much in so little time. There were also joint sessions with PRSA where you have a chance to mingle and network with professionals already working in the field. I didn’t mind that I would wake up at 7 a.m. and put on business clothes because it was a sneak peak into what I would have to do if I want to be a future professional.
     All the people I met at conference were what made the experience so worthwhile. I met other PR students from different universities and got to experience a fantastic city, San Francisco. Conference was about personal growth and going to all the sessions made me realize how much I can do with a degree in public relations. Sessions ranged from sports management, to hospitality, to tourism and crisis management. There is something for everyone, and I really hope that all of you can make it to next year’s conference in Philadelphia on Oct. 25 -- 29, 2013.
     I leave you with a quote of one of the keynote speaker at a joint session with PRSA. Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter, said, “In order to succeed spectacularly, you need to be willing to fail spectacularly." What the 2012 PRSSA National Conference was all about: taking risks and believing in yourself.
By: Ana Gomez, University of Florida PRSSA Online Strategy Committee