My name is Jeremy Satyawan Putra, a senior public relations major and the PRSSA director of diversity and recruitment at Shippensburg University. I was granted the opportunity to attend the Public Relations Student Society of America International Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, during fall break from Oct. 13 to Oct. 16 with other members from my chapter. At the conference, we were able to hear from professionals about their experiences in the industry while also networking with students from other chapters.
Due to our Shippensburg chapter’s continuous efforts, we were recognized as a Star Chapter recipient during the PRSSA awards breakfast on Saturday, Oct. 14. The Star Chapter Award is awarded to chapters that showcase the gold standard for PRSSA chapters. Some of the requirements for the gold standard include having relationship-building opportunities and providing programming for general members to work on.
PRSSA sent executive board members Madison Griffith, Jaden Wrabley, Anna Garman and I and general members Luke Rainey and Rylee Swails. Our goal as an organization was to be able to bring back insights from the various speakers that we can share with our other members. In turn, this would allow us to deepen our understanding of the public relations industry.
On Saturday morning, Amanda Brooks, director of communications at ESPN, helped to ease a lot of anxiety-ridden college students. My key takeaway from her was that “you should strive to be my favorite self every day” and “you made it this far and you are enough.” As college students, we sometimes overthink and need the reassurance that everything is going to be OK. Thankfully, what Brooks said calmed a lot of my professional anxiety.
Furthermore, she highlighted that not every plan will go the way we want it to. It is going to take a lot of trial and error to perfect the things we want, and as a result, we should always have contingency plans prepared in case something does go wrong.
My favorite session came on Monday before our flight. Michele Norris, the founding director of The Race Card Project, led a discussion about The Race Card Project. It is a long-running and ongoing project in which participants “distill their thoughts, experiences or observations about race into one sentence that only has six words,” according to the group’s website. Hearing her speak made me think a lot about my relationship with race and encouraged me to pursue more DEI opportunities in the future.
Overall, my favorite memory came from meeting individuals from other universities and becoming great friends with chapters from Nebraska, Texas, California and Massachusetts.
Other members of SU’s chapter of PRSSA share their thoughts on this year’s ICON:
Madison Griffith, PRSSA president and senior public relations major:
“I’m grateful to have been able to attend my second PRSSA ICON conference. It was an amazing learning experience and as I get ready to graduate, I’ll never forget how much this experience greatly impacted me.”
Luke Rainey, PRSSA general member and sophomore public relations major:
“My first ICON experience was incredible. It was humbling to be in a venue like the Gaylord and represent my university while I was there. Beyond the benefits of listening to speakers and meeting with public relations professionals, I also appreciated the chance to take a flight for the first time in my life. Navigating airports and urban environments is relatively new for me, so to handle this challenge with a group of capable students was extremely helpful.”
Rylee Swails, PRSSA general member and sophomore public relations major:
“Attending ICON as a sophomore and first-year PRSSA member was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. I was able to expand my network while also learning PR insights that will help me as I move forward. I look forward to attending ICON again to continue to expand my passion for the public relations field.”