Tips for Running a Thriving Student-Run Firm

The benefits of getting involved in a Student-run Firm are plentiful. From networking opportunities to bulking up your portfolio and gaining leadership experience, joining a firm that focuses on professional development will better prepare future PR practitioners.  

Founded in 2008, PRowl Public Relations is Temple University’s Student-run Firm. Here are some ways we, as PRowl PR’s Directors of Public Relations, boost morale for a thriving Student-run Firm. 

1.     Get personal. 

Creating an environment where firm members feel comfortable and free to express their ideas is the key to a productive space. Getting to know each of your firm members and finding commonality can allow for clearer channels of communication. One way our Student-run Firm chooses to involve members and form stronger connections is through weekly icebreaker activities during general meetings. These activities often include a way to exercise creativity while allowing members to collaborate with others they might not regularly interact with. We also give our members the opportunity to submit professional or personal accomplishments for themselves or fellow cohorts that are announced and celebrated during our general meetings. This form of celebration is an outlet for supporting and uplifting each other as young professionals. Incorporating simple activities like an icebreaker or celebrating together can foster a sense of camaraderie for your Student-run Firm. 

2.     Play to your associates’ strengths.  

When leading an account of student associates, it is imperative to determine where their strengths as PR professionals lie and what areas they hope to gain more experience in. Typically, during one of our first meetings of the semester, we inquire about our associates’ current interests, skills, and areas in which they would like to grow. We use this as a starting point to build our agendas and assignments to ensure we are providing our associates with engaging and valuable skills to practice. In addition to building their confidence in PR skills, our associates end each semester with strong pieces to add to their portfolios.  

3.      Have a little fun with it.  

It’s easy to get carried away and bogged down by the stresses of school and starting your PR career. Making space to relax and keep things lighthearted can improve firm morale. Our firm bonding events have become something members look forward to. Traditionally, we center our firm bonding events around popular holidays like Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and winter holidays. We swap out our weekly agenda reporting for quality time with members and themed PR-related activities.  

4.     Find passion areas. 

It’s important for us to work with clients that align with our firm members’ personal values so we can actively and passionately support them. Recently, PRowl PR collaborated with a previous client, #VoteThatJawn, an organization that works to mobilize and empower first-time voters. This election season, our firm members volunteered to attend an event at Philadelphia’s City Hall with #VoteThatJawn to promote voter registration for the local youth. Through social media and media relations campaigns, our members also supported a client we all feel passionate about advocating for. When we work with clients to create such positive change, we feel empowered to drive change outside of the PR world as well.  

5.     Integrate professional development.

While we primarily focus on producing client work, our firm also provides professional development opportunities so we can become more well-rounded students and PR practitioners. We periodically host mixers with alumni to encourage networking and give current members opportunities to receive professional advice. Firm alumni who are in the area can meet with current members to share about life post-graduation. Another technique we use to promote professional development is requiring each firm member to write a semesterly blog post on a PR-related topic of interest they can later add to their portfolio. These blog assignments ensure members stay up to date with industry trends and challenge them to look at current events from a PR perspective. To encourage further well-roundedness and preparation for the professional world, we host student-led workshops on topics such as proper fashion in the workplace, email etiquette, and mental well-being. Because our workshops come from a student perspective, the tips are relevant and applicable to our lives and prepare our firm members for success. 

It is essential to continue supporting and uplifting each other as students. After all, your peers will be your future PR network, and we all know how important it is to build strong, mutually-beneficial relationships. These tips have proven to work well for PRowl Public Relations, and we hope that applying this advice to your own firm will help boost morale, engagement, and productivity.  

Isabel Chowdhury is a senior studying public relations and minoring in digital media engagement. This is Isabel’s third year in PRowl Public Relations and second semester as the director of public relations. Over the summer, she was a public relations intern at Next PR, an agency in Philadelphia where she gained experience in media relations and content creation. She has also previously worked as a public relations intern for Breslow Partners and Obsidian Studios. Outside of PR, Isabel loves to explore the city with her friends, go to concerts, and try new workout classes.

Olivia Sariano is a senior studying public relations. This will be Olivia’s fourth year with PRowl Public Relations, having held the positions of director of finance and account associate. Olivia is also the director of public relations and marketing for Tri Delta’s Epsilon Phi Chapter and works as a florist in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood. She previously interned at La Torre Communications, a boutique PR firm in her hometown of Harrisburg, PA. In her free time, you can catch Olivia staying up to date on the latest happenings in the fashion world, trend predicting, and reading in the park.

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