PRSSA Nevada receives national Star Chapter Award for year’s efforts

University’s student public relations organization recognized for programming, high school outreach and pro-bono work.

PRSSA Nevada's student board and faculty adviser attended the PRSSA national conference as part of their yearly programming.

Students and a professor pose indoors.

The University of Nevada, Reno’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Nevada chapter was awarded this month the Star Chapter Award from the PRSSA National Committee. This year marks the third occasion that PRSSA Nevada has received this honor.

The national award recognizes student groups that provide programming and relationship-building opportunities to students. Some of the award requirements include completing community service, providing ethics programming, applying for scholarships and awards, conducting high school outreach and securing media coverage. Chapters must meet eight out of 10 requirements to be awarded star chapter – PRSSA Nevada met all 10.

“Because there are multiple criteria that you have to meet in order to qualify as a star chapter, it has allowed us to find new and innovative ways to become involved with our parent PRSA Sierra Nevada Chapter, work with pro-bono clients and plan professionally beneficial meetings for our members,” Camie Yokote, PRSSA Nevada president, said.

PRSSA Nevada Chapter is the pre-professional organization sanctioned by the Associated Students of the University of Nevada. The chapter offers a variety of programs, workshops and mixers for strategic communications students to build their practical skills, portfolios and professional network.

“We chose to pursue this award because it gave us a rubric to model and plan our year after,” Yokote said. “Not only has this award given us national recognition, but we will also be able to use it as material to recruit new members.

The student organization recruits 35 to 40 members each school year. During the 2018-2019 school year, it added 13 new members through sponsorship provided by PRSA Sierra Nevada.

This year's programming included professional guest speakers, a communications workshop and high school outreach to more than 190 high school seniors in northern Nevada. PRSSA Nevada was also able to offer sponsorship to six high school seniors, planning to attend the University in fall 2019.

“What made this year standout was the high school outreach started by the Bateman competition team and continued by the chapter,” Alison Gaulden, PRSSA Nevada faculty adviser, said. “Additionally, students saw the value of practicing their craft for pro bono or paid work and engaged with the opportunities offered by national PRSA for leadership training.” 

The students offered public relations and communications services as a fundraiser to local businesses and executed pro-bono communications work for a nonprofit for one semester.

“We worked with Northern Nevada Music Teachers Association to create a communications plan that includes media production and social media management,” Yokote said. 

According to Yokote, the chapter plans to continue many of the efforts from this past year, including working closely with PRSA Sierra Nevada and implementing similar community service projects. All of the efforts will help prepare students for the public relations profession.

“We plan to use the title to show that our chapter is dedicated to ‘advancing the profession and the future professional.’”

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