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Marywood PRSSA Holds First Ever PR Boot Camp

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PR Boot Camp was a great opportunity for students to learn about the evolving world of public relations. Photo Credit: Lauren Smith.

By Lauren Smith
Publicity Director/Lifestyles Editor

If you’re a student that has ever attended a professional conference, then you probably understand what a great learning experience and networking resource they can be, as well as how incredibly expensive it is to attend. If you are paying out-of-pocket, the costs of attending a conference can easily reach between $500 and $1000, quite easily. Pass prices, travel costs or accommodations, and other incidentals can tack on hundreds of dollars, even with student discounts.

Fortunately for Marywood students interested in Advertising, Public Relations, Marketing, Graphic Design, Copywriting, and Social Media, there will be a FREE conference open to all college students and high school seniors in the Scranton area. The event, called PR Boot Camp, has been organized by the Marywood Chapter of PRSSA, or the Public Relations Student Society of America, which is in association with the national organization, PRSA. PR Boot Camp is the first event of its kind for the Marywood chapter of PRSSA, and also falls within the same week as Communications Week, “Bringing the Vision of the Future”, a week of events sponsored by Marywood’s Communications Department.

PR Boot Camp will be kicking off Communications Week on Sunday, April 18th from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with free lunch provided. The next event will be a panel discussion on Wednesday, April 21st beginning at 3 p.m. where some of the speakers will include: Christopher Ell ’03 an artist for Dreamworks; James Loftus IV ’82, Vice President for CBS Radio; John Kilker, a film maker and producer; William Lynett, a publisher for the Scranton Times-Tribune and Marywood Trustee; and Tricia Richards, President of The PR Department, LLC. Ending the week will be presentations from senior Communications students on Friday, April 23rd at 3 p.m. where they will present their capstone projects. All events will take place in the Media Center, Room 160.

So far, PR Boot Camp has five confirmed speakers: John Dawe, President of Dawe Consulting Group; Robin Snyder and Alicia Madga from Solid Cactus; Tricia Richards, President of The PR Department, LLC; Catherine Schaefer, Owner of CDS Creative, Inc., and Catherine Bolton, Founder of River Rock Communications, LLC and former President and Chief Operating Officer for the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). In the coming weeks, PRSSA members hope to add more speakers to the roster for the event.

When asked what their objectives are for the PR Boot Camp, PRSSA President Mandy Boyle says, “Our goal is to expand the horizons of students in the Communications program, build relationships with local universities, provide students with strategies and tactics they could use in the future, and build connections with industry professionals.”

Along with marketing materials for Communications Week, PRSSA members are using one of the platforms that will be discussed at PR Boot Camp—Social Media, to promote the event. You can find information about PR Boot Camp at their Twitter page (@MU_PRBootCamp), and their Facebook group, PR Bootcamp, and registration will be held online as well. Members of PRSSA have also reached out to local high schools and universities to invite them to the event which will be beneficial to both groups since high school seniors can learn more about the Communications program, and other local college students can meet and connect with local business leaders. Members hope that if the event proves to be successful it will only be one of many to come for the professional student organization.

Just to illustrate how expensive an event comparable to PRSSA’s PR Boot Camp can be, PRSA, the parent organization to PRSSA is holding their own two day PR Boot Camp seminar this May in Chicago with pricing offered at $745 for members and $845 for non-members. Even other PRSSA chapters that are hosting their own events, such as the Drexel University chapter which is hosting the event “Bizarre PR” at the Radisson Plaza on April 10th, are charging $65 to register, $30 just to attend the networking social, and $40 for students.

With this in mind, Marywood’s PRSSA members considered it important to keep the event free and open to the student community. For more information on the event, or to find out how to register, email [email protected] for details.

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