PRSSA Regional Conference at DePaul University
On February 3, our PRSSA Chapter headed off to the PRSSA Regional Conference at DePaul University. The theme this year was, “The Entertainment Industry: Not just an LA Thing.”
It was my first time attending the Regional Conference so I didn’t quite know what to expect. The keynote speaker was Patricia Murphy, senior vice president of Matter, which is a division of Edelman Sports and Entertainment Marketing. She was excellent! Murphy spoke of the importance of following the 360˚ Model in which a content is the center focus but is surrounded by retail, social media, print, traditional media and consumer promotions. Murphy used one of her clients, the television show, “The Biggest Loser,” to illustrate how her team integrated another client, Brita, into the show. She also explained how Matter teamed up with Walmart and Bed, Bath, & Beyond to bring consumers a Brita reusable water bottle and a Biggest Loser workout DVD combo pack.
Another speaker I enjoyed at the conference was Allison Cooke, marketing director at Modern Luxury. What I loved most about her seminar was that she gave us tips, or what she called “Preparations for the Real World,” including: making contacts, taking a job that will give you experience over money, taking initiative and volunteering.
While I viewed the conference as a tremendous learning experience, for PRSSA President Michelle Ketcham, the conference reminded her of her prior aspirations for her public relations career.
“When I first learned about the public relations major, I was really interested in working in the entertainment industry. Over the years I figured it was something that wasn’t as possible as I had hoped. However, after the conference, my interest in entertainment PR was revived. I’m now spending a lot of time researching the various opportunities that are available in places as close as Chicago.”
No matter the goals of each individual member, the conference was a huge success that left everyone with a lot to discuss on the car ride home!
Roadtrip through America
“Everything is bigger in Texas.” After Friday night’s social, “Road Trip through America,” I think everyone who attended the event can all agree that everything is also bigger and better in New Orleans, Hollywood and Las Vegas. PRSSA’s social was a success of epic proportions. Whether it was the posing on the red carpet at the Hollywood-themed place or receiving the beads at the Mardi Gras-themed place (don’t worry, we didn’t have to do anything inappropriate to get them), it was apparent how much hard work went into the night to make it such a blast for everyone who attended.
Of course, every great event requires some extra planning, and “Road Trip through America” was no exception. “We start planning the socials far in advance,” said PRSSA historian, Lauren Trentadue. We started throwing ideas around over winter break and then decided on a theme when we came back to school. We handpicked all the songs on the different playlists at each apartment.”
With hours of music specific to each themed location for the social, it was not hard to dance the night away. My personal favorite was Miley Cyrus’s, “Party in the USA,” at the Hollywood location. Honestly, who doesn’t feel good when they are “nodding their heads like yeah” and “moving their hips like yeah”?
Everyone has a favorite city in America, and it seemed that everyone had a favorite stop along the road trip. “My favorite theme was Mardi Gras,” said Emma Newman, who along with Trentadue, Michelle Ketcham, Allyson Corona and the development committee, were the masterminds behind the entire event. “The social happened right before Fat Tuesday, so the timing was perfect. It was the first location to start off the night, and everyone received beads as they entered.” I personally loved Las Vegas because the decorations and dancing made it feel as though we were actually in a Vegas night club.
Ketcham, PRSSA president and development committee adviser, had a blast planning the social but admits that it was organized chaos at some points during the last few hours leading up to the event. “No matter how much planning we did prior to Friday, we still had so much to do on the day of the event. We could not decorate our apartments until Friday because we all have roommates and were afraid of decorations getting ruined. As a result, we were running around all day trying to decorate four different themed apartments,” Ketcham said. Corona agreed with Ketcham, explaining that the last couple of days were a mad dash. “The parts that are extremely stressful are the couple days before. That’s when I ran around and made sure every apartment was prepared,” Corona said.
To cap off the night was the Texas-themed event hosted by chapter secretary, Ian De La Rosa. This was the time when everyone who wore their flannel could get their cowboy on and boot-scoot to country music by such artists as, Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean and some late ‘90s hits by Shania Twain. All of those who joined me in the decision to wear their cowboy boots finally could put them to good use as they ended the night with a country bang.
Between the dancing in Las Vegas and the photo ops in Hollywood, I think it is safe to say that everything was bigger in Normal during PRSSA’s “Road Trip through America” social event for its members. Thanks to the hard work of the development committee, executive board, Newman, Trentadue, Ketcham and Corona. The night was a success of Las Vegas-size proportions.