PR Student: Lauren Holbrook
This article was produced in cooperation with the COMMS 425 lab.
BYU students brought home the 2017 Teahan award for Outstanding Chapter after attending the PRSSA National Conference in Boston.
The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) currently boasts more than 340 chapters and 10,000 members across the nation, and the organization continues to grow internationally. BYU’S recognition against so many competitors came as both a shock and an honor to the board members and students attending the conference.
“I am ecstatic about winning outstanding chapter this year,” expressed Jake Pehrson, the current president of the BYU chapter. “It goes to show that hard work and persistence truly pay off.”
Andrew Cook, the current PRSSA National President and a current BYU student, presented the award during the closing ceremony of the conference. Cook announced Brigham Young University as the winner, resulting in explosive cheers from the twelve BYU students and the PR professor—Dr. Chris Wilson—attending the conference.
“This is the championship for PRSSA,” explained Cook. “It’s fantastic to see BYU take home a championship.”
The award is given for the efforts of board and chapter members from the previous school year. Award applications are due at the end of May with individual winners announced prior to the conference in October.
“It was quite an honor to receive the Outstanding Chapter award,” said Dr. Wilson. “These students work incredibly hard and put in countless hours. I’m not sure how we did it, but they deserve it.”
The BYU chapter highlighted several massive achievements in its application for the award. Chapter members participated in two main campaigns over the school year—one for Operation Underground Railroad during the 2016 Fall semester and one for the BYU Rex Lee Run during the following winter semester. The fall campaign raised over $3,500 to rescue children from human trafficking.
Membership rose to more than 150 students during the 2016-2017 school year, making BYU one of the largest chapters nationwide. The board members established fantastic relationships with professional contacts throughout the school year, including Jane Dvorak, the current president of the Public Relations Society of America.
Other highlights of the year included participating in the Mindfire program through Ketchum (a prestigious PR agency), senior Junior Lartey finishing second place in the Utah Public Relations Student of the Year competition, and receiving a Golden Spike Award from the Utah Valley PRSA chapter.
Members of the BYU chapter also have access to social analytics software, such as Crimson Hexagon, HYP3R and Buzzsumo, which provide crucial skills for improving research and campaign tactics.
With a national title to its name, the chapter has its sights set on additional wins and will be starting a new student-run firm with the hopes of earning more awards for the school next year.
Follow BYU PRSSA on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date on the chapter’s activities. You can also check out the chapter’s website to pay dues, read the newsletter, learn about events, contact board members, and view scholarship and internship opportunities.