The Public Relations Student Society of America at the University of Rhode Island

may not be a well-known group on campus yet, but they’ve gone a long way in helping to provide opportunities to students interested in public relations and communication through lectures, panels and workshops over the past several years.  

The PRSSA has also helped students develop networking opportunities with public relation professionals in order to further careers.  

One of the unique aspects of PRSSA is that the executive board caters to its members; taking into advisement what types of things they’d like to cover in the realm of public relations, professionalism or communications over the course of the semester.  

Active PRSSA member Ryan Devlin had been urged to join by professors and lecture guest speakers, but after joining he quickly realized the opportunities it provided for him. Devlin was able to create better networking for himself while developing a better sense of professionalism.  

“They really want you to find out who you are as a professional,” Devlin said.  “A lot of times we’ll talk about our dreams and goals and we’ll talk about our career aspirations. I think I’ll be a more well-rounded student when I graduate because of it.”

Helping students realize the importance of professionalism is one of the best things about being in PRSSA, according to Vice President Katherine Murphy. She hopes to not just deter students from feeling intimidated by the idea of professionalism, but work to help them embrace it.

“For me, I really love being able to help students realize that they don’t have to be different from themselves to be professional, which is really exciting,” Murphy said. “It kind of eases the stress of the ‘real world.’”

PRSSA President Josephine Maida wishes more students knew about the organization and she hopes that in the future more students will join to take advantage of these unique opportunities for career development given the small commitment it takes.  

“It’s really an hour of your time and I think you can get a lot out of it,” Maida said.  “Personally, I’ve made connections that have led to internships or have led to other really good connections.”

Although PRSSA at URI has found success planning events such as speaker series in the past, recently the group was forced to cancel their “Dare to Dodge” dodgeball fundraising event because of low levels of interest. Despite this setback, however, Maida has embraced the unfortunate outcome as a learning experience for the group.  

“Even though it didn’t happen, it’s kind of like the event planning classes here where you plan the whole event, but then you don’t actually do it,” Maida said. “At least there’s still that hands-on experience of learning, because event planning can be a big part of PR.”  

For students in the Harrington School of Communication and Media who are interested in joining the PRSSA, weekly meetings are held on Monday nights at 5 p.m. in Room 318 of Memorial Union.