Ohio University’s Hugh M. Culbertson Public Relations Student Society of America Chapter received the 2020–2021 Dr. F.H. Teahan Award for Outstanding Chapter during the 2021 PRSSA International Conference. Winning Outstanding Chapter recognizes Scripps PRSSA as the finest Chapter across the nation, a high honor that the entire Chapter was humbled to receive.
However, the successes of Scripps PRSSA didn’t happen overnight. The Chapter’s executive board spent long days recruiting new members, inviting guest speakers, planning events, creating social content and most importantly, shifting into a virtual setting.
“Leading the Chapter entirely virtually was new for everyone and at times was uncomfortable, but we all managed to work together, lead the Chapter and grow personally and professionally,” said Vivian Moussa, 2020–2021 Scripps PRSSA Chapter president.
As the Chapter overcame several adversities throughout the pandemic, the biggest takeaway that came from the past year was simply to go against the grain. Moussa believes that by going outside the lines and bringing forth innovative Chapter approaches, Scripps PRSSA was able to stand out among the crowd as outstanding. On behalf of Scripps PRSSA, below are several practices that every Chapter can implement for success:
Building relationships with PRSA and PRSSA Chapters not only helps establish your Chapter’s presence, but expands beyond your Chapter’s typical network. In 2020, Scripps PRSSA partnered with Central Ohio PRSA, Kent State University PRSSA and University of Kentucky PRSSA. The PRSA/PRSSA network is huge and always willing to help; take advantage of it!
Something important for all Chapters to do is to simply give back to their community. Annually, Scripps PRSSA pairs members with a resident at one of our community’s nursing homes and encourages them to exchange letters. Beyond that, our Chapter participated in PRSSA National’s Community Service Initiative in collaboration with Kids Need to Read. In years past, Scripps PRSSA has partnered with local restaurants and coffee shops within the community to create community relations.
Although meetings looked different in 2020, Scripps PRSSA saw this as an advantage and invited professionals from around the world at well-known companies through the ease and convenience of video meetings. Speakers included professionals from beloved corporations such as The Walt Disney Company, Nike and Dunkin’ Inspire Brands. Similarly, speakers also included professionals at top-tier public relations agencies such as Ketchum, Weber Shandwick and Edelman. Don’t be afraid to connect with professionals through LinkedIn, as they’re most likely more than willing to arrange a time to connect with your Chapter.
Members LOVE opportunities — so create them! Scripps PRSSA allows all dues-paying members to join one of our three committees: publications, special events and diversity. Our committees aim to give members tangible work and hands-on experience that can be showcased on their resumes and on LinkedIn. In addition, Scripps PRSSA blog and newsletter, PR Success, is an opportunity for all members and a way for them to contribute to our Chapter’s publications. Our Chapter strives to make our opportunities as valuable as possible in order for members to grow professionally.
Looking into the future of Scripps PRSSA, the Chapter hopes to continue striving for success while being a helping hand to any and all PRSSA Chapters.
“I’m extremely proud of the Chapter for winning this award, but ultimately, this award motivates our Chapter to work harder as we continue to aim for excellence through our professional development opportunities and Chapter practices,” said Macy Cantrell, 2021-22 Scripps PRSSA Chapter president.
Payton Daugherty is a freshman studying journalism on the strategic communications track at Ohio University. She also is pursuing a certificate for writing. Currently she is passionate about public relations and aspires to do more in that field. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter.
Alyssa Gormley is a senior studying strategic communication at Ohio University. She currently serves as the PRSSA National vice president of Chapter development. Connect with her on LinkedIn.