Public relations class offers students real-world experience

     Students in this semester’s Introduction to Public Relations class are getting an early start on their resumés with real-world experience.

     The class has been working to put together a live simulcast with Christian author/actress Priscilla Shirer at Lakeholm Church of the Nazarene. Shirer, who starred in the movie “War Room,” is a popular speaker at women’s conferences around the country. She has published a number of motivational books and a series of video studies on Biblical characters and topics.

     MVNU students partnered with Lakeholm Church to organize and promote the day-long event, which takes place tomorrow and encourages women to deepen their relationship with Christ.

     To complete the project, the 34 students split into seven teams, each overseeing a different aspect of the event: JEMKO, in charge of publicity; Knox PR, in charge of logistics and management; Modernists and Managerial Mavericks, both in charge of decorations; Practical PR, in charge of food; Super Six, in charge of advertising; and Team Uno, in charge of finance.

     “Our class is organizing the whole event — from the food to the décor, to the marketing and promoting,” sophomore public relations major Brooke Schnipke said.

     Professor Laural Heinze said the project helped students understand how public relations professionals operate in the real world.

     “Each team competed, just as public relations firms do in the private sector, to work on their area of expertise,” she said.

     Senior finance and management major Daniel Rodriguez discussed the finance group’s tasks, which included printing and selling tickets.

     “We are tracking all of the costs of this event and making sure we break even,” Rodriguez said.

     Sophomore graphic design major Mariah Kick designed the media packet, which included posters, a PowerPoint presentation and a bulletin insert.

     Students also sent out information and packets to local churches and businesses and posted fliers around campus and downtown Mount Vernon. They said the chance to get hands-on experience in their field has been valuable.

     “Being involved in these types of projects is really helpful, because it helps us apply the concepts we are learning in class,” Rodriguez said. “Our professor teaches us a certain theory about public relations and we are having to deal with it at the same time in the real world.”

     “This project is a great experience to be a part of,” junior business administration major Jaron Brust agreed. “What we learn throughout the course gets put into our daily practice of planning and organizing the event.”

     The most valuable aspect of this project is the preparation it gives students for careers early-on.

     “This project will help me learn more about how the real finance and business world works,” Rodriguez said.

     “This project has given us a very good idea of how it will be in the ‘real world,’” sophomore public relations major Brooke Schnipke agreed.

     Even though the class is specific to public relations, the project provides students with practical experience in many different areas. Students emphasized the importance of teamwork and cooperation in putting the event together.

     “This project has given me the experience of working in groups and actually having something to plan for,” Brust said. “I want to go into the insurance industry, and I know working in teams and having a common goal is what future internships and jobs will look for. I think it is a great preparation task for future careers in a wide variety of fields.”

     The groups have learned from both their successes and their failures, Schnipke said.

     “We have hit a few stumbling blocks, as well as had many good things fall into place, so we are getting experience for both,” she said.

     For more information, contact Lakeholm Church of the Nazarene, or visit the event’s Facebook page.

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