Lily Peskin ’21 named finalist for PRWeek’s Outstanding Student Award

The strategic communications major designed a sustainable campaign for New York Fashion Week to become one of the five finalists in this year’s competition.

Senior Lily Peskin ’21 joins a distinguished list of talented Elon strategic communications majors before her to be named a finalist for the PRWeek’s Outstanding Student Award, set to be announced on March 18.

Lily Peskin ’21

“It’s not something that I expected going into my senior year doing, but luckily I was introduced to it,” Peskin said. “It definitely has given me some confidence. It’s given me something to show. It’s let me connect with a professor and grow that relationship, and helped me understand a little bit more about the profession I’m going into.”

Peskin first learned about the national PRWeek student competition for John Doorley, associate professor of strategic communications. After an introduction, Peskin started the application process, which included a campaign for New York Fashion Week and a designer about to debut an upcycled, recycled plastic shoe line.

“You have to make a whole campaign strategy talking about all the different ways you want to get the designer out there and how to promote the event,” Peskin said. “But really they just give you a prompt and it’s your job to take advantage of it and do as much as you want with it.”

The campaign is a significant amount of work for students, especially during a pandemic, Doorley said. Students must be willing to work over the holidays, accept critique, and respond with a “can-do” attitude. Doorley has mentored previous finalists, and supported Peskin throughout the planning and pitching processes.

“It’s 100 percent hers,” Doorley said. “She worked very hard, and it goes to show you her attitude, and her ability to think and write clearly, which is what strategic communications is all about.”

For her final product, Peskin created a sustainable campaign for a virtual New York Fashion Week. Streamed live from the streets of New York on social media platforms like YouTube and TikTok, Peskin’s campaign included a week of zero waste in the fashion industry, promoting initiatives with different celebrities.

“Mine was definitely focused on sustainability and the possibility of zero waste staffing or zero waste events in the fashion industry,” Peskin said. “I named it the ‘Reboot collection.’ I thought that was a fun play on revitalizing old plastic bottles into new shoes, but also like rebooting into the future of sustainable fashion.”

Peskin and the other four finalists will attend a virtual awards ceremony on March 18, where this year’s PRWeek Outstanding Student of the Year Award will be presented.

In 2016, Hattie Hoskins ’16 was the first Elon student named a national finalist for the PRWeek Student of the Year award. A year later, Rachel Hobbs ’18 earned the same recognition. In 2018, Hobbs and Kelly Valerio ’20 were both named top-five finalists, with the former advancing to the top two. In 2019, Anissa Cooper ’19 was named honorable mention – or runner-up.