A group of 16 public relations students and six film studies students departed March 6 for a weekend of networking, competition, education and career development in downtown Chicago.
The public relations conference, titled “The Loop: a 360 Approach to Public Relations in Chicago,” is a nationally endorsed regional function of the Public Relations Society of America. The students attending are members of Union’s chapter of PRSSA, the national student offshoot of this organization.
The PRSSA chapter of Chicago’s Columbia College will host the event through March 9.
Ashley Blair, assistant professor of communication arts and PRSSA’s faculty sponsor, said the Communication Arts department and PRSSA have made similar trips every year since 2005. This trip is the third to Chicago but the first to include a conference and to be in conjunction with a film studies class.
The film studies students will meet with animation professionals and tour the Treasures of Walt Disney Archives exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. The exhibit includes original hand-drawn animation cells from classic Disney films, Blair said.
The goal of all our trips is to provide students with experiences in their field that help them develop academically and also allow them to explore different professional environments as they prepare for their future, she added.
Hannah King, junior public relations major and vice president of PRSSA, said the conference will feature lectures, workshops and tours.
King said she hopes the experience will “help people open their perspectives to PR.”
She hopes her fellow students will be challenged by seeing “how other people do [public relations], compared to how you’ve always grown up, in the city you’ve grown up in, thinking of it in that way.”
Lydia Wright, junior public relations major, was eager to travel to Chicago.
“I hope to gain some more knowledge about public relations, especially the more applicable knowledge,” Wright said. “You can learn so much in the classroom, but I think going to a conference and talking to people who are currently in the public relations work field is definitely beneficial to students who are looking to go into that profession.”
Wright also said she is looking forward to spending time with her fellow PRSSA members and getting to know them better.
The conference will continue through March 9.