Lily Sherer is the skilled writer behind the keyboard of the Illinois State University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. Her passions range from fashion, to writing, to gender equality. These passions, along with her naturally curious personality, led her to the public relations major at ISU.
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in Bloomington-Normal, Ill., so I am a proud “townie.” I attended Heartland Community College for my associate degree before transferring to ISU my junior year. I changed my mind about what to major in quite a bit – I fluctuated between fashion, sociology, and communication. My adviser enrolled me in Introduction to Public Relations, and from then on I knew public relations was the field for me. It combines many of my interests and passions: writing, design, knowledge about people, and strategic thinking. I became involved with ISU PRSSA right after I transferred, which has completely shaped the trajectory of my career. Now as a senior, I am the Digital Media Director for ISU PRSSA and the marketing and public information intern at Heartland Community College.
What are your responsibilities as Digital Media Director?
As Digital Media Director, I manage the Chapter's Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram accounts. I edit and update our websites, including isuprssa.com. I photograph all Chapter events and keep track of all Chapter and member accomplishments. I also serve as an adviser for the relations committee and am a part of the editing process for Chapter publications.
How do you feel you have contributed to the success of ISU PRSSA?
I believe I have contributed to the success of ISU PRSSA by bringing the Chapter to a global audience through social media. It has been rewarding to participate in PRSSA National Twitter chats. One of my goals has been to make our social media presence more robust for our external audiences and solidify our Chapter’s reputation as a thought leader within the PRSSA community. I also created a Facebook group for our internal publics to stay informed. This spring semester we are about to launch an Instagram campaign called #RedbirdPR Stories, a way to feature our members every week and bring more of a storytelling element to our Instagram.
What is an interesting fact about you?
My family and I are all musical and artistic. I play the flute and enjoy jazz singing, although I prefer expressing myself to music through movement – whether that be through figure skating or dance. I figure skated from about age 8 to 17, participating in various local competitions and ice shows. Now, it’s pretty likely you can find me dancing in my car or while hanging out with friends. I’m known to have a few signature quirky dance moves that always amuse. The artistic part of me comes out when I am involved in the design side of public relations and in my love affair with typography.
What has been your favorite opportunity from PRSSA?
One of my favorite PRSSA experiences was serving as the national delegate for our Chapter at PRSSA 2014 National Assembly. I met so many amazing new friends from all over the country that share the same passion for the public relations industry as I do.
What do you want to be your legacy?
I describe myself as a free spirited, critical thinking individual. I will be satisfied in life if I can continue to spread my joy and build others up. At some point in the future, I want to work toward advancing greater gender equality and help progress the health of women globally. In these areas, Hillary Clinton and Emma Watson have been my role models.
Where do you see yourself after graduation?
After graduation, I hope to gain experience working either for a public relations agency or as an executive speechwriter. I also see myself in a social media position for an organization, as that comprises much of my background. All in all, I am keeping an open mind about the future, and I am excited to see where life will take me.
Questions composed by Kellian Reed
The ringing in of the new year prompts individuals to set new goals for themselves. The start of the new year also signals the start of a new semester. As people seek ways to better themselves such as eating healthier, going to the gym, or taking more risks, students often create resolutions related to what they want to accomplish in the new semester. Whether your resolutions include making it through the semester alive or landing your dream internship, setting clear goals for yourself is a great way to ensure success for yourself. Read on for resolutions from some of the members of the relations committee:
Allie Trosper, “Build my networking skills.”
Kellian Reed, “Make the most of my last semester of college before joining the big-bad ‘real world.'”
Lily Sherer, “Start a personal website or blog.”
Chloe Kasper, “Make better use of my resources at school and improve my networking skills.”
Dillion Maher, “Gain more professional experience through internships.”
Bridget Anders, “Enjoy my last semester as an undergraduate student, graduate with at least a 3.5 GPA, and find a job after graduation.”
Kimi Sanden, “Break out of my comfort zone to gain experience in new areas of the communication field.”
Melaina Chromy, “Gain internship, academic, and writing experiences that will set me apart from my peers.”
Cassidy Obis, “Focus on a ‘just do it’ mentality. Accomplish tasks today rather than setting them off for tomorrow.”
From all of us in the relations committee, happy new year and good luck this semester!
By Melaina Chromy
Jordan DePauw, a freshman at Illinois State University, is ready to experience life in the public relations world. She is excited to find out everything that ISU and a career in public relations has to offer. She loves that the ISU Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America is prepping her for what is ahead.
Tell us about yourself.
I am 19 years old from Geneseo, Ill., a small town of about 6,000 people that is completely surrounded by fields and has only one grocery store. I chose to major in public relations because it interests me, and I like how it takes a creative angle on business. I also like that you can be the face of a brand or client, and I think it would be amazing to watch a person or company succeed because of my efforts.
What are you passionate about?
I love playing soccer and volleyball. I wish more than anything that I could go back to high school and play sports for my school again. I also enjoy reading; my Kindle never leaves my side.
What is your dream job?
I have not chosen a specific career yet. As a public relations major, I have a wide variety of options and there is so much from which to choose. I am leaning toward something with sports management or being a publicist.
Are there any clubs or organizations of which you are involved?
So far the only organization I am involved in is ISU PRSSA, but I am only a freshman, and I am sure I will find other registered student organizations that interest me. I am looking into joining either a volleyball club or a soccer team.
Why did you choose to attend ISU?
I chose to attend ISU because of the campus and the people. The campus is big but it feels small, like home. I also heard good things about the public relations program here at ISU. I definitely do not regret my decision to come here. Go Redbirds!
What is your favorite memory of your time at ISU so far?
I would have to say my favorite memory is going to Gill Street, a restaurant, and watching the national football championship game between ISU and our Missouri Valley Conference rival, North Dakota State University. The atmosphere was absolutely amazing, and it made me realize how much I love this school. I had so much fun there; people played games and won various prizes. Right now that memory is my favorite, but I have no doubt there will be plenty more to come!
Questions composed by Allie Trosper
This year, the Illinois State University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America is offering a new opportunity for its members. The Chapter is partnering with Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network to host an event in April designed to raise education and awareness on organ and tissue donation.
While attending PRSSA National Conference in Washington, I connected with the Gift of Hope, a member of the organization Donate Life Illinois. Donate Life Illinois is part of an alliance of organizations responsible for organ, tissue, eye, blood, and marrow donation, as well as donor education and registration in Illinois. As a part of the Donate Life America coalition, Donate Life Illinois is one of 45 regional coalitions and 50 national businesses/associations working to raise awareness, education, and donor numbers.
Donate Life Illinois has various member organizations beneath it, including Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network. This nonprofit is one of 50 organ procurement organizations that make up the nation’s donation system. It coordinates organ and tissue donation and provides public education on donation in Illinois and northwest Indiana. It works with 180 hospitals, serving 12 million people in its donation area. In its 29 years, Gift of Hope has saved the lives of more than 18,000 organ transplant recipients and improved the lives of hundreds of thousands through tissue transplants.
After the Conference, I returned to ISU with one goal in mind: to bring Gift of Hope to ISU’s campus. Ten months ago, in the midst of tragedy, Gift of Hope brought light to a hurting community and family. If you are not familiar with the Michael Collins foundation, I encourage you to explore the website. A drunk driver tragically killed Collins, a senior at ISU, in April last year. Because Collins was an organ donor, his organs, eyes, and tissue impacted and saved 200 lives. His mother, Kelly, is able to share that Collins’ gift restored a blind woman’s sight in New York. Not only does this organization benefit people across the world, but it has made a huge impact right here in the Bloomington-Normal community.
For those receiving a donation, it is potentially lifesaving. For those who are donors, you are giving the most selfless and valued gift of all – the gift of life. And the Gift of Hope is just that, hope for a future for so many. There are currently 5,186 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant in Illinois.
The Rowan University Chapter of PRSSA has formed a competition between schools to participate in the National Organ Donor Awareness Competition. This competition will fuel the planning of an event at ISU that will focus on educating students, raising awareness, and generating conversation about organ donation, all while taking in new donor registrants. A team of ISU PRSSA members will partner with Gift of Hope representatives and potentially other community and faculty sponsors to complete the day event. The PRSSA members will then compile a portfolio of their efforts, including research, strategic plans, budget, invitations, news releases, and a media kit. The portfolio will be sent to Rowan University PRSSA, and the winners will be announced at the Conference this fall. Grand prizes will be awarded to the top three Chapters. This competition is not only a great opportunity to gain experience, but also, more importantly, to make a difference.
By Ali Seys
On Jan. 7, fans of music artist Sia stopped swinging from their chandeliers and witnessed another Sia masterpiece posted on her VEVO YouTube channel. The music video was for her new song, “Elastic Heart,” and features young dancing prodigy Maddie Ziegler along with an unexpected partner: Shia LaBeouf.
In the video, the dancers are together in a giant cage and use modern dance technique to display a battle. Ziegler sports the same costume she wore in the video for “Chandelier,” with LaBeouf wearing the male equivalent to her nude leotard. The costumes were dirty and smudged, adding to the battle theme.
Given the outstanding feedback Sia’s “Chandelier” video received, it was expected that “Elastic Heart” would receive the same feedback, especially since Ziegler was featured in the music video. However, the new music video did not receive the same response. Because of the large age difference between Ziegler and LaBeouf, many fans thought the video was verging on pedophilia. The choreography of the dance was heavily influenced by modern dance technique and style, which fans witnessed before in “Chandelier” as well as during live performances of the song. Yet for some fans, these movements have taken on a different meaning.
To clear up the confusion, Sia reached out to her fans and apologized for the misconception. Sia’s apology did not isolate the fans who misunderstood the music video but let them into her thoughts as she explained what she was trying to showcase. Sia used Twitter to express her thoughts to her fans by saying, “I apologize to those who feel triggered by #ElasticHeart. My intention was to create some emotional content, not to upset anybody.” In two prior tweets she said, “I anticipated some ‘pedophilia!!!’ cries for this video. All I can say is that Maddie and Shia are two of the only actors I felt could play these two warring ‘Sia’ self-states.”
By taking to Twitter, Sia was able to address the possible crisis at hand with a majority of her fans and nip it in the bud. Sia has always been open about her brand, even going as far as to explaining why she chooses not to show her face on camera, and this latest action on Twitter only reinforces that brand. In the article, “My Anti-Fame Manifesto,” Sia wrote for Billboard in 2013, she refers to society and its opinions as, “a stereotypical, highly opinionated, completely uninformed mother-in-law.” She then continues, saying, “I've never been very famous, but I've worked with a lot of famous people, and I've seen a lot of their mothers-in-law. And I can tell from what I've seen that I don't want one of my own.”
By clearing up the confusion with her music video, Sia was able to defend her intention for “Elastic Heart” while still appearing sensitive to the concerns of her fans. In this way, she has effectively minimized the likelihood of a crisis happening to her brand as a result of viewers’ misinterpretation of the video.
By Chloe Kasper
Abbie O’Ryan’s love for adventure and willingness to take every opportunity given to her has been her secret for success while studying at Illinois State University. This second semester senior can graduate knowing she has accomplished that for which all students aim. She’s experienced great internship opportunities, held leadership positions, and made life-long connections, all while maintaining a respectable GPA.
O’Ryan is a public relations major with a minor in business administration who joined the Public Relations Student Society of America Chapter at ISU during the second semester of her freshman year. She began her involvement in ISU PRSSA’s student-run firm, PRogressive Image, where she worked with several clients including Chill Out Yogurt, City Dance, and Christmas Without Cancer. O’Ryan mentioned that working with City Dance was one of the best experiences she has had in college. Outside of ISU PRSSA, O’Ryan is an active member of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, where she has gained valuable leadership experience by holding the positions of property coordinator, Greek Week chair, and most recently, chapter president. O’Ryan stays busy by also working with the Vidette, ISU’s student newspaper, as social media manager, and is a member of the Undergraduate Writing Research Program and Alternative Spring Break.
To better prepare for a successful career in the public relations industry, O’Ryan has interned with Figel Public Relations in Chicago, where she worked with clients March 4 Meg, Special Olympics Illinois, Lagunitas Brewing Company, and Leo High School, and was given the opportunity to write for Patch.com. O’Ryan studied abroad in Canterbury, England as a junior, where she was able to visit 11 countries in Europe. This semester, she is interning with Palace Events in Bloomington, Ill., and says she is, “Excited to gain experience in yet another area of the public relations industry.”
O’Ryan’s professional advice to those looking to get their feet wet in the public relations industry is that it is never too early or too late to get started or involved. She encourages freshmen and sophomores to reach out to peers and make connections early; if they are willing to work hard, there are plenty of opportunities for them at ISU.
O’Ryan’s post-graduate plan is to join Target as an executive team leader in June. When asked about her time at ISU, O’Ryan said, “The Public Relations program and ISU PRSSA have done more to prepare me for the real world than I ever could have imagined. I am so grateful to have had such amazing teachers and peers with whom to work. As a high school senior, ISU was not my top choice college. Now as a college senior, I realize how lucky I am to have ended up here, and I wouldn't change it for the world.”
Interview by Kimi Sanden
The little blue box is jewelry icon Tiffany’s classic representation of love and affection. The timeless design has been intertwined into many love stories, and with the organization’s latest campaign, many more to come. Recently, Tiffany & Co. launched a new ad campaign for engagement rings called, “Will You,” which features a love story previously untouched. It follows a homosexual couple, making Tiffany & Co. the first major jewelry brand to do so. And, according to ELLE.com, the men pictured are an actual couple living in New York City.
By taking this leap into a new kind of love story, Tiffany & Co. is taking a big step, but will the change be beneficial? For years, they have not included homosexual couples in their ads and have been successful, so what will happen now that the change has been made? According to Linda Buckley, Tiffany’s vice president of North American public relations, the change is beneficial, saying in a statement to ELLE.com, “Nowadays, the road to marriage is no longer linear, and true love can happen more than once with love stories coming in a variety of forms.” Now that the change has been made, Tiffany’s has opened up its brand to a whole new audience that loves the designs just as much as anyone else.
This monumental step is also making waves outside of Tiffany & Co. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community is still underrepresented in pop culture, especially in advertising. This ad allows LGBTQ couples to see themselves represented in the new form of Tiffany’s brand, which will have a major impact on the LGBTQ community's continued involvement with the company.
Tiffany & Co.’s ads in the past have depicted ideal images of love in settings that seem too good to be true. With this ad, however, that is not the case. The men pictured are a real couple and their actions in the ads are not just poses for the camera. By having this knowledge, consumers can filter through other ads and come to this one knowing it carries authenticity. Their real life romance makes the scene more relatable and ultimately more attractive to a widespread audience. Overall, with both of these changes, we will see many more little blue boxes in the years to come.
By Chloe Kasper
Two weeks shy of the State of the Union Address, President Obama proposed his plan for two years of tuition-free community college. The White House shared the news on Jan. 8 via Facebook in a two minute video along with the hashtag, #FreeCommunityCollege. The video features an airborne President Obama outlining the framework for his proposal while flying to Tennessee on Air Force One to deliver a speech about the proposal.
The announcement has received mixed reviews from proponents and critics alike and is generating quite a buzz among the nation; or at least the nearly 8 million people who viewed, shared, and liked the video on Facebook.
Assuming that the proposal makes it past Congress, the plan, which has been dubbed America’s College Promise, could potentially help an estimated 9 million students. Under the proposed plan, students would have to maintain a GPA of at least 2.5 in addition to being enrolled in school at least half-time. The details of the framework have yet to be released; however, President Obama is promising, “two years of free community college for anyone who’s willing to work for it.”
Social media is a much used strategy in the field of public relations to brand messages that appeal to a specific audience by focusing on what is said and how it is said. Obama is no stranger to utilizing digital tools as a platform to gain supporters. Since his election in 2008, he has been noted for being one of the only presidents to use social media as an engine to drive his presidency. President Obama was very strategic in choosing to whom to market his message. Posting the announcement to Facebook as well as including a hashtag pulls in a younger demographic, one which includes the very students who will be affected by the plan he is proposing.
Some Americans are wondering whether or not this promise is feasible. Because nothing is ever truly ”free,” someone will have to pay for all of this education, if not for the students. Will it be the taxpayers? Will it be more government funding leading to more government debt? Will the public support the means by which this idea could occur?
One also wonders why the president decided to unfold this new campaign so late into his second presidential term. Is this tactic aimed to improve his approval rating? Most everyone can agree that student debt needs to be alleviated. Creating more opportunities for Americans to receive more education and pursue higher goals than ever before is something that many would undoubtedly support.
By Deja Whitt
When it comes to making history, the Illinois State University community certainly knows how to rally behind its fellow Redbirds. The ISU community, however, is spread both far and wide, making social media a key tool to spread messages to prepare for the Football Championship Subdivision game against Missouri Valley Conference rival North Dakota State University, ISU Athletics, Red Alert, and the university flagship account used social media to intensify hype surrounding the game.
Redbird fans were encouraged to use the popular hashtag, #BackTheBirds, in addition to the National Collegiate Athletic Association hashtag, #FCSChamp. These hashtags united Redbird fans’ Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts before and during the game. In regards to Twitter and Facebook, the ISU social media accounts consistently posted links to its website where fans could receive updates on the weekend in Frisco, Texas, as well watch party locations. Under the athletic program, videos were created to rally Redbirds wherever they may be and also included links back to the main hub with new information regarding the game. As far as sharing on social media, posts that included videos were the most popular on Twitter and Facebook.
Social media was used to rally Redbird fans and generate enthusiasm for the championship game. The use of social media and the unity it created allowed Redbirds to come together, brought strength to our team, and made us all proud to be Redbirds.
By Cindy Kirchner
She sings, she dances, and loves to write—all three add up to one unique combination, this week’s Member Monday. This freshman has hit the ground running as a public relations major at Illinois State University. Besides being an active member in the ISU Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America Chapter, she is also a writer for Her Campus. In the future, she dreams of working as a publicist in the music industry. Let’s meet Chloe Kasper: a feminist with a minor in Latina studies, full of ambition, and dedicated to the field of public relations.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a freshman majoring in public relations and minoring in Latina studies. I am 19 years old, and my hometown is Chicago Ridge, Ill. In high school, I was involved in many activities, but I was especially involved in show choir, where I was a captain for two years. I served as editor-in-chief for the school newspaper and yearbook. Being a part of those activities taught me so much about leadership. The guidance of classes in high school, activity advisors, friends, and family all led me to where I am today.
What interested you in joining PRSSA?
I started attending ISU last semester, and I love it! I had declared public relations as my major when I applied. When I arrived, I wanted to do everything I could to learn as much about public relations as possible. I also wanted to gain some experience in the field before starting the major-focused classes next school year. Getting involved in ISU PRSSA seemed like the perfect way to accomplish both my goals while still adjusting to campus life and completing my required general education courses.
What else are you involved in on campus?
Along with being a member of ISU PRSSA, I am also a writer for Her Campus Illinois State, which is an online magazine for college women. Writing is one of my passions and being able to do that alongside likeminded college women is absolutely wonderful! I love being able to write about things that are relevant to my life experiences and share that with other college women.
What makes you unique?
I love to sing and dance. I’m the kind of person who starts singing and dancing randomly whenever the opportunity presents itself. I always tell people that if you can talk, you can sing, and if you can move, you can dance! A fun fact about me is that I had the incredible opportunity of performing in Disney World (twice!) with the show choir I was a member of in high school. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget.
What is your greatest motivator?
My support system, which includes my family, friends, and past mentors, are my best motivators. Whenever I am down, they are all just a phone call away to help me through whatever obstacle I am facing. They have all helped me in different ways become the person I am today, and I cannot thank them enough for it.
What sparked your interest in Latina studies? How do you plan on incorporating your minor into your career?
As a Latina who grew up in a household where much of that cultural influence was not present, college offered me a way to immerse myself in learning about the culture. When first picking classes, I chose the Intro to Latin American and Latina/o Studies class offered here, and I absolutely adored it. Once I found out there was a minor focusing on it, there was no looking back!
You mentioned you loved being able to write about women as a woman. Why do you find it important to be involved in women’s rights?
As a feminist, I do truly believe in for what the term stands; As quoted by Chimamanda Angozi Adiche (popularly known through Beyoncé’s song "Flawless"), “A person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” In the past, women have been subdued to a status that is not equal to men, and this discrimination continues in some countries today where women are still treated as second class citizens. Having a platform as a writer is a very meaningful thing to me because it shows how far women have come.
Describe your dream job.
I have always been passionate about singing and dancing as well as writing. I am fascinated by social media and the power it has within society. My dream job would be to combine all these into one job as a social media coordinator for a business that has something to do with music, or as a publicist for a major musical sensation.
Questions composed by Kellian Reed
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.