UNCP is restarting its chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).
"I wanted to join PRSSA, but you can't join unless your school has a chapter," new chapter President McKenzie Cook said. "We didn't have a chapter here, and I thought 'Why not? How hard could it be?'"
So Cook, an undergraduate, took the initiative and started a UNCP chapter. Public Relations or PR is one of three concentration offered by UNCP's Mass Communications Department.
PRSSA began with nine chapters in 1968 and has grown to more than 20,000 members and 124 chapters UNCP is chapter number 125. There are eight university chapters in North Carolina, and Cook feels that PRSSA is beneficial.
"It's just a really neat organization," Cook said. "I really think this is going to help our PR students and the Mass Communication Department."
By joining PRSSA, members can then get involved with the public relations needs at their campus and involved in national programs. Members get hands-on experience needed for career development, fine tune leadership skills and receive educational and networking opportunities.
George Harrison, a public relations professor at UNCP and faculty advisor for the new chapter, pointed out that networking, job referrals, tips on writing, professional development, scholarships and grants and travel are just some of the highlights for joining PRSSA.
Cook has goals for the new PRSSA chapter.
"My personal goals are for PRSSA at UNCP to work with other clubs and organizations and to promote a unity between all the clubs as well as enhance our ever-growing Mass Communications Department," Cook said. "We have so much going on in the department for other concentrations, and I wanted to be able to do that for the public relations students."
Cook feels that students need to learn about public relations outside the classroom.
"This is going to give the students what they don't learn in class, the hands-on stuff," Cook said.
Harrison is thrilled about PRSSA.
"I feel very excited and pleased that students are expressing an interest in rejuvenating the chapter," Harrison said.