Connecting for Success: How Networking Fuels UVU PRSSA’s Chapter Development

Throughout my education in public relations, I’ve been reminded of how important it is to make connections with the peers and professionals around me. Networking has proven to be one of the most useful tools that has helped the Utah Valley University (UVU) Chapter grow. Learning to utilize networking to your advantage can be an excellent way to improve Chapter development. 

Utilize Your Network

When you see an opportunity to benefit your Chapter, go for it. Last October, the UVU Chapter attended the PRSSA ICON 2023 Conference in Nashville, Tenn. We knew the trip would be thrilling and full of new experiences, but we weren’t fully aware of how much the networking opportunities would benefit our Chapter. At the Conference we had the chance to meet members from PRSSA at Brigham Young University (BYU). Our executive board had previously discussed a collaboration between the Chapters and this was our chance to put it into action. We briefly pitched the idea of a future event and exchanged contact information. Working with the Chapters in your area showcases the power of networking and becomes a bridge for students to meet other people who will be working in the same profession.

Before going to Nashville, we did some research on who would be speaking at the Conference. We learned there would be a few speakers from Utah and couldn’t wait to meet professionals from our state. Our Chapter had recently decided we wanted to do a service event making comfort kits for a children’s hospital owned by Intermountain Healthcare. The Marketing Manager for Intermountain Healthcare and PRSA Utah Board Member, Jason Carlton, was scheduled to speak at the Conference and we were excited to talk to him. At a networking dinner with our Chapter, I asked him if he would be interested in speaking at our service event. He expressed his passion for helping students and was happy to do it. Utilizing the connections we made in Nashville led to our Chapter having one of our most successful events. 

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LinkedIn is Your Best Friend

LinkedIn is a powerful tool for networking. As we were looking for ways to get more members to participate, we wanted to incorporate more events formatted to learn about the industries that students are interested in. A survey we distributed found that a lot of respondents were interested in sports PR. I remembered that recently, I came across the account of the Chief Communications Officer for the Utah Jazz NBA team. I decided to ask if anyone from the communications team would be willing to have us for a presentation. We were graciously invited to bring students to a presentation on the various communications roles, a tour of the arena, and lunch. LinkedIn is a great app to use for broadening your Chapter’s network and connecting with students. 

Using LinkedIn has been helpful for our Chapter in more ways than connecting with industry professionals. After seeing how instrumental the app is, we started a UVU PRSSA LinkedIn account to highlight the events and different projects we work on throughout the year. Doing so has allowed members to repost to their profile and have proof of their involvement with PRSSA. LinkedIn is a great place to gather inspiration and highlight accomplishments. 

Your University Wants to Help You

Spreading the word about your Chapter can be difficult. After the Covid-19 Pandemic, the amount of people who knew of PRSSA at UVU was low. We found that asking our professors for help was one of the most useful tactics for PRSSA to have more visibility. We decided on our target audience and asked professors to advertise our events. We prepared digital fliers, applications and RSVP forms and an announcement script. Having everything ready made it easy for professors to quickly inform their classes about each of our upcoming events. Additionally, they highly encouraged us to visit their classes to introduce students to PRSSA and invite everyone to get involved. Having our professors be involved helped our Chapter get more exposure, and continuously reminded students to participate.  

Using the resources provided by the university will help to highlight and support your Chapter. At the beginning of the semester the UVU Chapter found out that we would not be able to fundraise because of recent policy changes. We began to look for other ways to raise money and learned we could prepare a grant proposal to present to the Club’s Office. We explained what we would use the money for, when we would use it, and why we needed their help. The grant gave us the opportunity to fund the Kits for Comfort service event with BYU and create 30 kits to take to the hospital. Learning what resources are available around your university will further enhance the experiences you provide as a Chapter. Taking advantage of resources that are meant for assisting groups like PRSSA will help your Chapter gain more visibility. 

Why You Should Use Networking

PRSSA thrives on implementing strategies that focus on broadening students’ networks, enhancing students’ educations and launching students’ careers. Being open to the idea of continuously incorporating networking into your Chapter will open doors and unlock a multitude of opportunities that will encourage students to get involved. 

Maysen Rowan is a senior at Utah Valley University, majoring in public relations and strategic communication. She is from Farmington, Utah and currently serves as the vice president for UVU PRSSA. She would like to work in the beauty industry, or the sports industry. Maysen enjoys golfing in the summer and taking care of plants. If she could go anywhere in the world, it would be Switzerland. If you’re interested in contacting Maysen, you can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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