On Saturday, February 25, the Boston University Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) held its 6th annual regional PR conference, “PR Advanced: Unleash Our Generation“. Students from 14 different universities attended and over 200 tickets were sold. Students spent time learning from and networking with numerous industry professionals.
BUPRSSA Conference Coordinator Melanie Murray (COM’14) helped launch The AFUTU Project at this week’s conference. AFUTU, which was founded by two Generation Y visionaries, Branson Skinner and Liz Ricketts, provokes discussion around the question, “What world do you intend for our children?” Participants who attended were asked to bring a t-shirt and write their answers to this question. The shirts will be taken to Ghana and turned into backpacks by a team of seamstresses which will then be sold online and around college campuses. The goal is to raise money and promote awareness surrounding children’s education and community development in Accra, Ghana.
Contact BUPRSSA Faculty Advisor, Stephen Quigley at 617-358-0066; email@example.com
On Saturday, February 26, I attended PRSSA’s PR Advanced Conference: Be the Change. Attended by students from 22 different US colleges, the conference featured some of the brightest minds from the top public relations agencies from around the country. The day kicked off with an inspiring keynote speech by Jon Iwata, IBM’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications. Iwata interested the crowd, coming from one of the most corporate and structured companies, by using innovative and refreshing tactics to market some of IBM’s products. He entertained the group with videos of Watson, the supercomputer that competed on Jeopardy and slightly scared us with proposed images of what he could’ve looked like.
The conference then split into several breakout sessions. I attended the Agency Panel: Opportunities in Worldwide which was moderated by BU Professor Jonathan Yohannan. There, representatives from Edelman, Ketchum and Gagen MacDonald (in addition to Yohannan who works for Cone), shared some of their life experiences and took questions both from the audience and from Twitter.
After a brief lunch complete with a visit and pep talk from Dean Elmore, we were treated to another amazing keynote speech by APCO CEO and Founder Margery Kraus. Kraus gave a gripping speech about launching her own company while maintaining the core values that she was raised with. With one of her grandchildren there to support her, it was amazing to hear about that level of accomplishment in so short a span of time.
To end the day, a career panel assembled with some young professionals and HR representatives from companies around the country. There they took questions from the audience and Twitter, ranging from what not to say in an interview, how to apply and how to attract the attention of recruiters. Inspired by their words, students were then ushered into a career fair stacked with the best global PR agencies, as well as representatives from PRSA and the Publicity Club of New England.
Samantha is a senior in COM, majoring in Public Relations.