Its that time of year again, line waiting, aggravated crowds, and deals, deals, deals. Students from universities around the country rush home to soak up family bonding time; you know, that special time waiting in the WalMart line surrounded by the frigid November air at two in the morning. At least this seems to be the norm sweeping the country. However, this writer, in a sort of Cindy Lou Who state of mind, is wondering where has the Thanksgiving spirit gone?
The holiday shopping season kickoff, known as Black Friday, is just a few short days away and the promotions have already begun. JC Penny has been made the most notable of these promotions boldly opening its doors at 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving day.
After visiting JC Penny online, I instantly was exposed to percentages in eye-drawing fonts and color schemes that bolster phrases like, “$500 off” and “super-savings coupon,” it is clear that the store is attempting to draw in masses of Black Friday shoppers with incredible deals.
Now, it is understandable that these deals allow less-fortunate people to get gifts for loved ones at a very reasonable price. However, at what point do we stop sacrificing time with loved ones to get them material items? It seems that we sacrifice more each year and allow the “holiday shopping season” to start earlier and earlier.
But, credit to where credit is due, the stores that open its doors on Black Friday or before (looking at you, JC Penny) with slashed prices for the holiday season are proving to be efficient when it comes to advertising against competition.
The idea of standing in line out in the cold among the masses just to get a good deal never appealed to me. For me, the holiday season has always been about cramming loved ones under one roof, embracing cousins for the first time since last November, listening to my dad retell the same stories every year with just a tad more embellishment, a house echoing with laughter, and the simplicity of being together. It has never been about the materials to be possessed, but rather the intangibles that come with being together.
However you choose to spend your holiday season, be it standing in line under the lights of a storefront or in a warm house with the comfort of loved ones, I wish you a happy holiday season full of giving thanks!
Keep calm; it’s only a cup. Since 1997, Starbucks has brought the holiday cheer to consumers with festive red cups. In the past, artists have displayed common winter themes such as snowflakes, snowmen, and Christmas trees. This winter, the iconic coffee company decided to leave the graphics off and have a festive all red cup with the green and white Starbucks logo in the center. Little did Starbucks know, they would catch national attention and mass amounts of negative comments from consumers that loved the old holiday cups.
While some people have jumped to conclusion and have made speculations that “Starbucks hates Jesus” or “Starbucks hates Christmas”, Starbucks did not do this because of any religious reasons. People have been overreacting to such a small issue and blowing it out of proportion. Which is rather disheartening considering there are more important issues in the world today. Starbucks customers should be grateful that they are able to enjoy the luxury of Starbucks coffee, a luxury not known to many worldwide.
Last holiday season, Starbucks created the Red Cup Contest on Pinterest during the first week of November. This November, the Seattle based coffee company received over 24,000 entries after five days of launching the contest. The second annual Starbucks Red Cup Contest consisted of customers snapping a creative photo of their festive red holiday cup for a chance to win a Starbucks eGift card. I encourage readers to check out the Red Cup Contest on Pinterest and see how creative minds across the world express their festive red holiday cup. Although many have missed out on the Red Cup Contest this year, due to the cloud of hatred towards the new festive red cups, this should not cloud one’s vision for the holiday season that is upon us.
As the annual festive holiday cups took off in a direction Starbucks did not entirely expect it to go, the company stood their ground and sparked creativity with their customers. Could this be why they left a blank red canvas for their customers this year? Maybe Starbucks wanted to focus on the customer’s creative mind more than the cup. The holiday season is upon us; I want to express the importance of being grateful to have the gift of life.
What happens when an Illinois State University student’s inspiration stems from “ Gilmore Girls” and “Anderson Cooper 360”? You find Kelsey Farrell, public relations major and political science minor, leading the relation committee members in managing the ISU PRSSA newsletter.
Tell us about yourself.
This is my first semester in the public relations program after I switched from print journalism. When I first enrolled at Illinois State University, I was a print journalism major with plans to become the real-life incarnate of Rory Gilmore, but had to give this dream up when I realized I couldn't live up to her unreasonable perfectionism and impossibly shiny hair. I realized I wanted to stretch my writing skills outside the confines of the inverted pyramid, and public relations seemed like a good fit for me. Before I formally made the switch I joined PRSSA so I knew exactly what I was getting into. I liked the organization so much I applied for the Newsletter Chair so I can share my publishing experience with the entire chapter.
What influenced your decision to apply to the public relations program at ISU?
I wanted to apply my writing skills to something more structurally rigid than journalism, without sacrificing cleverness and creativity. I think there is a significant overlap between journalism and public relations; there is a lot of power in telling people’s stories, and I like the idea of telling people’s stories in a way that will actively help the organization.
What made you want to join ISU PRSSA and become the Newsletter Chair of the Relations Committee leadership team?
At the beginning of the semester, I was looking to change my major to public relations. I decided to join PRSSA to gain more knowledge of the industry. I gravitated towards Relations for the weekly writing opportunities, and stayed because Kimi, Tye and Ali are such effortlessly wonderful leaders.
What other things are you involved with on ISU’s campus?
I’ve been a Front Desk Manager with University Housing for the past three years and this semester I joined WZND’s public relations staff. I also recently accepted an internship with the Registrar’s Office to help spread the word about Summer Session, ISU’s summer program.
What hobbies do you have outside of school?
I am a really big theatre nerd, so I spend a lot of time on breaks seeing plays and musicals. I have a categorized list of every show I have seen since 2009 on my laptop and I update it religiously. I am also a really big TV-watcher, and this season I have been really into “Nathan for You” and “Casual.”
What is your dream job?
When I was little I told my Mom I wanted to be “a ballerina who’s also an astronaut” and, of course, that’s still my number one goal. If the whole space thing does not pan out, I will be happy working as a social media manager for a theatre company or a comedy club.
What helps keep you motivated?
I like to plan trips or buy tickets to shows far in advance so I always have something to look forward to after a rough month or a difficult semester. Plus, I get through a lot of bad days knowing there will always be a new episode of “Late Night with Seth Meyers” on the following night.
Who do you look up to the most?
My Mom was a woman who could walk into a room and immediately make everyone feel special and included, and if I could have one-tenth of that ability I would be a much better person. I also look up to my Grandpa, Tom O’Malley, because he is the most selfless, funniest, kindest man I know. He always tells me “Life is like a bowl of cherries, sometimes you get the pits!” but being his granddaughter is anything but.
Questions composed by Alyse Marin
Charlea Schueler’s vision for the future is bright and colorful, while her time as a Redbird is painted red and white! Schueler is not the average ISU student, with an ear for music, an eye for color , and a mind for communication, Schueler is incorporating all of her talents into her studies at ISU. Balancing a double major in public relations and music liberal arts is no easy feat, but this Bloomington-Normal native is doing it with style.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a sophomore, double majoring in music liberal arts and public relations. I am actually a triplet, and my sister goes to Illinois State University as well. My brother attends Washington University in St. Louis. I have lived my entire life in Bloomington-Normal, so I am a proud townie. Sometimes, I even help other college students discover where new and better restaurants are.
Although you grew up in this area and attended U-High, one of Illinois State University’s laboratory schools, what helped you decide to attend ISU?
I had visited a great deal of other schools, and every one offered to give me roughly the same amount in scholarship. I then turned to what those schools, including ISU, could offer me besides money. I looked to ISU’s music program, which was really strong and a huge pull. I really liked the violin professor, Dr. Gentry, and the orchestra director, Dr. Block, whom I had performed under in the Central Illinois Youth Symphony. I loved them both and thought they were awesome instructors. Those two music professors, along with Dr. Fredstrom, the Honors Program director at the time, pushed me to come to ISU, and they have helped to make my experience here truly amazing.
How do you plan to use both of your majors – public relations and music liberal arts – together?
I never wanted to give up music, so that is why I am a music major. I wanted to become a better musician for myself. The public relations field is where I would like to find a career in. I would love to work somewhere that has a music program, like the Bloomington Center for Performing Arts, and work in the public relations or development department. Ideally, I will find a job in which I can utilize the skills I will learn in the public relations program while always being surrounded by music.
Not only are you an accomplished violinist, but you also see music and words in color. How would you explain this to those who do not see the world the way you do?
I have synesthesia, which means that I can see words, numbers, and some music in colors. Each letter of the alphabet is a unique color to me, and groups of letters – words – make up different colors. Numbers also have colors and backgrounds of color. Music is a little different in that chords become colors. However, if there are lyrics with the music, I cannot see any colors specifically because the colors from the words and music wash each other out. Names have colors, and if I know someone, their personality has color. My name, Charlea, is a kind of a purplish pink, and my middle name, Elizabeth, is a light baby blue. My last name, Schueler, is a silvery green, which is hard to describe because that color only exists in my mind. Everything has a color, and I have to see it that way in order to understand it all.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Ideally, I see myself in a city like Bloomington-Normal. I would be happy staying here for the rest of my life if I found a career that suited my morals, values and passions – music and communication.
Questions composed by Ashlyn Gramm
PRSSA National Conference gives Illinois State University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America the opportunity to travel to cities that some have never been to. This year’s conference is in Atlanta from Nov. 6-10 ISU PRSSA members are thrilled to travel to a city, for which some have never seen and meet like-minded peers. While networking and professional development is the primary goal, here are five things we look forward to experiencing at the PRSSA 2015 National Conference.
1. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives
Eating is one of our favorite activities. Atlanta is host to many tasty restaurants that have their own spin on classic dishes. For classic BBQ, members will eat at Fox Bros BBQ located at 1238 DeKalb St. This local favorite has everything from brisket to pork. For brunch, members will try the White House Restaurant located at 3172 Peachtree Rd. White House was voted “Best Breakfast and Brunch” in 2013 by Atlanta Magazine.
2. Atlanta Streetcar
The Atlanta Streetcar is Atlanta’s newest form of transportation. The streetcar connects the downtown and entertainment districts. After a long day of professional development, members can take the streetcar to enjoy Atlanta. The one-way ticket is $1 and a day pass is $3.
3. Zoo Atlanta
Located in Grant Park, Zoo Atlanta has over 1,400 animals from 200 different species. The highlight of the zoo are the twin pandas, Mei Lun and Mei Huan. They are the only twin pandas born in the United States. Zoo Atlanta is open Monday - Friday from 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. on weekdays and Saturday - Sunday from 9:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. on weekends. The student rate is $18.99.
4. “Walking Dead” Tour
Atlanta Movie Tours offers residents and tourists a tour of the “Walking Dead” show and
“Zombieland” movie. Guests receive a tour of the hospital, goat farm, and the CDC. The guide was casted as a “walker” in the show and can tell behind-the-scenes stories. Tickets are $65.
5. World of Coca-Cola
The World of Coca-Cola is a museum of Coca-Cola products. Guests enter the lobby where they prepare to experience everything Coca-Cola has to offer. In the loft, guests can see memorabilia of the past and present Coco-Cola.
A weekend filled with networking, learning, and exploring the city of Atlanta is what PRSSA 2015 National Conference is all about and ISU PRSSA cannot wait for the experience of a lifetime.
Written by Tyler Krivich
After a long year of growth and determination, sophomore member Ashlyn Gramm has every intention of making this year her year. After declaring her major as public relations, this Bloomington-Normal native has put her dream of incorporating the study of Public Relations and Physical Therapy into action as a post-graduate career. Through Illinois State University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, Gramm hopes to continue to refine her skills in public relations, as well as open herself up to new opportunities, following some of the best advice she has ever received- meet this week’s Member Monday, Ashlyn Gramm!
Tell us about yourself.
I am a townie! I grew up in Bloomington-Normal and have been around the ISU campus since I can remember. My major is public relations, but I am planning to continue onto Physical Therapy school after I graduate. I live at home with my mom and younger brother, but I probably spend more time on campus than I do there. I am involved in the ISU Young Group, ISU PRSSA, and the Pre-Heath Society on campus.
Let's do a little bit of reflecting: Now that you're a sophomore, in what ways do you feel you have grown since freshman year?
I think I have definitely grown my confidence this year. I came in as an undeclared student freshman year, and it frustrated me that I could not figure out what direction I wanted to pursue. That frustration led to a lack of confidence, which led to more frustration, and so on. But the faculty at ISU has been great in helping me figure out where my passions lie and how to then act on them.
The combination of your major and post-graduation plan for Physical Therapy school is very unique! How do you plan to combine aspects from these two fields in your desired future career?
It is definitely a unique combination! Not many people would come up with pairing together public relations and physical therapy! The goal right now is to graduate with a public relations degree and continue onto becoming a physical therapist. As I learn more about public relations and physical therapy, I have realized how closely related they are. A lot of public relations revolves around pitching and convincing your client that you truly believe that what you are wanting for them is in their best interest. The same goes for physical therapy, only it is more medically focused. Typically, the issues that arise in physical therapy situations are the result of miscommunication, and my goal is to bring an increased knowledge of the communication process from a public relations standpoint and make my physical therapy practice much more effective.
Since becoming a member of ISU PRSSA, what have you learned?
I have definitely learned more about the public relations field since joining ISU PRSSA. I honestly did not know much when I applied to the program. If for some reason, I do not go on to becoming a physical therapist, PRSSA has helped me narrow down what field within public relations I would prefer to have a career in.
What is the best advice you have ever received and how has it affected you?
I think the best advice I ever received was to not be afraid to try things outside your comfort zone. If you try something and hate it, then you basically end up right back where you are right now, no harm done. But if you try something and love it, then you have one more awesome thing to do with your life. Honestly, a lot of the decisions we fret over are pretty trivial, so we might as well stop spending time worrying about whether or not we'll like something and just try it out.
Questions composed by Chloe Kasper
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.