New club ‘adds credibility’ to public relations major


Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), an offshoot of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), is one of the most well-known organizations for public relations practitioners, said PRSSA adviser Jessica Freeman.

Once accepted as a chapter, SDSU will have at least 21 students ready to join. The club is designed to help students by gaining access to newsletters, conferences and networking opportunities that will allow them to stay up to date with the changing world of public relations.

The public relations major started last fall at SDSU with 15 students officially declared majors. That was five more than the predicted 10 students in August.

This club will be great for students within the major to connect, said Lyle Olson, assistant head of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication.

For public relations majors specifically, membership with this national organization can really spice up a resume, according to Olson.

“It’s awkward to have a PR major and not have a PRSSA chapter,” Olson said. “PRSSA adds credibility.”

But PRSSA isn’t just for public relations majors. Anyone from advertising, journalism or agriculture communication can benefit from this organization, Olson said.

“When you get a communication or media degree it doesn’t hurt to have some interest in multiple areas,” Freeman said. “It’s a good opportunity for anyone who has an interest (in public relations).”

Creating the chapter has come with challenges. Addie Borah, who oversees more than 200 clubs at SDSU, said that to be an SDSU-recognized club three basic requirements must be met. The club needs seven SDSU students as members, a faculty or staff member to serve as an adviser and a governing document or constitution.

Aside from the school requirements, PRSSA has specific requirements as well. Olson said that the PRSSA chapter requires that some sophomores and freshmen sign up, so there will be a continuation of the club and people moving into the officer positions who are familiar with it.  The school must also offer classes such as writing public relations.

There’s also the challenge of payment. To be part of the national organization students have to pay dues, but the faculty doesn’t want the money to deter students from joining. The $55 required for joining PRSSA will go toward creating networking opportunities for students to meet other professionals, hopefully leading to internships and jobs, Freeman said.

Still, some students are skeptical about joining because of the annual fee.

“I think the club sounds really interesting, but $55 seems kind of high,” said Megan Teppo, a sophomore public relations major.

The club still has a few requirements to fulfill before having its first meeting, but the members hope to meet at least once before the end of the school year to determine student positions. Regular meetings are planned to start next semester.

“The founding group will help guide the direction of the organization on campus,” Freeman said. “We’re really excited to have an organization that offers these opportunities to our students.”