Students travel to PRSSA
conference in New Orleans


Ten School of Communications students traveled to New Orleans Oct.24-27 to attend the Public Relations Student Society of America national conference. The group was led by faculty member Jessica Gisclair.

The theme of the New Orleans conference was "Where Opportunity Meets Excellence." It included numerous workshops, networking opportunities and resume- and portfolio-critique sessions. Elon students attended as many sessions as possible in order to bring back information to share with members of Elon's PRSSA chapter.

Among the offerings was the Chapter Presidents' Leadership Workshop, which helped students understand the responsibilities involved in heading up a PRSSA Chapter.

Speaker Aaron Brown, an executive at Fahlgren Mortine, a public relations agency in Columbus, Ohio, focused on promoting and selling yourself in his speech, "The Brand Called You." Brown explained how "sneezers," small groups of people who will speak highly of you to those in higher positions at a company, can make or break your career and point you in the right direction. He also spoke about ways to market yourself, naming creativity as one of the most important aspects. "We will surround our clients with minds, not titles," Brown said. "We don't want to think outside the box; we want to recreate the box."

The conference was not all work and no play; there were several opportunities to discover the city's rich culture and traditions or experience the mouth-watering food and smooth jazz found in historically located restaurants. Students had time to explore the Riverwalk along the Mississippi River; take a streetcar to the Garden District, where Anne Rice resides; and visit Mardi Gras World, the warehouse where all of the parade floats are made every year.

Students agreed the crispy beignets (pronounced "ben-yays") - known as a French Market doughnut and the symbol of New Orleans - were among the favorite foods they tasted.

The School of Communications helped pay the expenses for the 10 "founding members" of the PRSSA Chapter at Elon covering the $215 conference registration fee for each. Elon's PRSSA chapter was approved in mid-September thanks to the efforts of all School of Communications professors, especially Gisclair who spearheaded this undertaking. Elon's chapter now has 91 members.

A meeting will be held sometime during the week of November 10th to elect officers and discuss how to run the chapter.

PRSSA is the premier pre-professional association for students interested in careers in public relations. There are more than 8,100 members at 234 colleges and universities. Advantages of PRSSA membership include access to scholarship and award programs, national programming and professional development opportunities, such as conferences at the local, regional and national level.

If you are not a member, but would like to be, you will have the opportunity to join PRSSA in the spring, as the last day to join for fall semester was Nov. 1. You may still attend meetings if you are not a member, but you will not be able to vote on certain issues.

For more information, visit the Web site: or contact Gisclair at

-Information submitted by School of Communications student Amy Jo Jenkins



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Last Modified:  11/04/03
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