The University of Mount Union’s Public Relations Student Society of America executive members took the initiative to create an opportunity for students to collaborate with peer universities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, the “Networking with Our Neighbors” (NWON) collaboration series came to life.
Emily Cooney ’21, Brenna Walker ’21, Bailey Balderson ’21 and Peyton Zamarelli ’22 devised the perfect plan to make this amazing virtual event a reality through the creation of graphics, invitations and a meeting agenda.
On February 25, the first installment of the NWON series made its debut. PRSSA members from Baldwin Wallace University, The University of Akron, John Carroll University and district ambassador Alyssa Gormley ‘22 from Ohio University were in attendance. All students were invited to wear their school colors while sipping on the featured snack of the evening, hot cocoa.
“We wanted to fill the networking gap that virtual events left in our PRSSA memberships,” Cooney said. "With this in mind, I contacted other small Ohio chapters like us. We received several positive responses and began to plan an event in order to suit our collaborative needs. We are very proud to say that we have achieved great success in this series. I would love to see this collaborative tradition continue in the future.”
The Mount Union Chapter was able to secure a date, time, theme, and guest speaker for the event.
NOWN’s first featured guest speaker was Kate Stewart, a doctoral student from the University of South Carolina. She shared her experience as a student continuing her full education back-to-back. Additionally, Stewart discussed crucial résumé building techniques and the importance of personal branding.
“Personal branding should be a balance of how you want to be seen as a professional while still staying true to your personal values,” Stewart shared during her presentation. “Ensure that you find what skills and characteristics set you apart from others to display that through all your materials. Consistent and unique qualities throughout all personal branding is key.”
After Stewart’s phenomenal presentation was complete, students dispersed into various break out rooms to discuss a panel of questions regarding public relations and less formal ice breakers.
“This was such a great experience for all those involved,” Zamarelli said. “We able to network with public relations students from three other universities in addition to hearing from an astounding professional in our field.”
PRSSA gives students the opportunity to network with professionals in the field as well as put their knowledge to the test by creating programs, events and campaigns to increase membership within the chapter in addition to collaborating with other chapters. NWON is a great example of this opportunity.
The next installment of the NWON series will take place March 25, hosted by Baldwin Wallace’s PRSSA Chapter.