What’s unique about the Public Relations Program?
Students participate in experiential learning opportunities creating “real life” learning opportunities. From creating a public service announcement for a local food pantry to designing a resource booklet for the Hispanic population, students continue to engage in creative, “out of the box” learning environments.
At the same time, students participate in Public Relations Summits involving local industry leaders sharing their career in an informal setting designed to inspire conversation. As a result of the Public Relations Summits, students have secured not only summer internship opportunities but full-time employment following graduation. For more information, view Student Resources.
To meet the demands of this competitive career path, the Public Relations Program combines traditional courses in writing and public relations theory with courses invoking critical thought about the pervasive impact of social media within the business environment. Students will not only explore the demands of the global economy but will address issues impacting the local community and the non-profit venue as a result of our experiential learning philosophy.
The Public Relations Program – your first step to a career in Public Relations.
See what’s happening in the classroom!
It’s All About Cultivating Relationships
Students enrolled in PRS340: Public Relations Strategies with Regina A. Bell, MA gained practical experience in networking as they met several industry leaders. Kate Spinella, Executive Director at The Matty Fund, shared her passion for Public Relations and encouraged students to engage in volunteer opportunities during their college career. URI alum Bill Tavares, Media and Community Relations Manager for New England Black Wolves, encouraged students to “think out of the box” when selecting their future career path. Bill challenged the students to look for opportunities outside of their comfort zone.
Students interested in event management welcomed the opportunity to meet two URI alumni who are event management experts: Brianna DePetrillo and Kristen Cambio. Their many “real world” stories resulted in a vibrant conversation about the many intricacies of managing corporate events as well as high-end weddings.
For the student interested in an agency, Laura Shubel, alum of our PR program from Caster Communication, facilitated a robust conversation about managing the many needs of a client. Laura’s impressive presentation provided the students with an eye opening opportunity to explore a possible career path in an agency setting.
Four students + one non-profit organization recognized for its successful impact in Rhode Island. What happened next? At the request of the Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County (http://www.dvrcsc.org/), four students implemented and managed a creative and thoughtful social media campaign to increase awareness in the local community, including the URI campus, of the many aspects of domestic violence. Utilizing instagram, twitter and facebook, the four students (Brigid Corcoran, Sarah Fillipino, William Haupt and Erin Meskers) introduced the community to “Buttons”. Not only is she a cute teddy bear, but “Buttons” encouraged everyone she met to be aware of the many facets of domestic violence and the positive impact of the Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County.
A special thanks to Anne Mulhall, Development Assistant and Professional Outreach, for the opportunity to collaborate with the Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County. This project was so successful that the student will continue this awareness campaign in the Spring of 2016. Yet another tremendous “hand-on” learning opportunity for our students.
Follow: #ButtonsJourney on Instagram and Twitter
Students Discover It’s All About One’s Online Presence
Students enrolled in PRS340: PR Strategies (Fall, 2015) not only discovered concepts and trends associated with Public Relations but were reminded of the pervasive influence of social media, particularly as they prepare for their future careers. A series of visits from local industry leaders stressed the importance of online etiquette and effective writing skills. What made this semester different? Students created a professional online presence complete with an online portfolio and professional twitter/facebook presence.
Thanks to the support of Sergio Suheet – public relations graduate (Class of 2016) – students enrolled in PRS340 (instructed by Regina A. Bell, MA) learned how to use Weebly during an in-class workshop. The peer education approach was an ideal way for students to effectively launch an online portfolio featuring their writing samples, their resume and a glimpse into their hobbies and personal aspirations.
Danielle Gariglio – http://dgariglio.wix.com/journalism-blog – showcased her love of sports while highlighting her aspiration to pursue a career in Journalism.
Olivia Martin – http://okmportfolio.weebly.com/ – illuminated her creative spirit and strong organizational skills.
The students’ reaction to this project was overwhelmingly positive. Students enjoyed the opportunity to introduce themselves to future employers in an effective online venue.
Students in Dr. Hollie Smith’s Spring 2015 PRS441: Public Relations Campaign course got a first hand look at the future of wind energy in the Ocean State by working with Wind Energy Development, LLC to develop PR campaigns for audiences all across the state. Students worked with WED, a North Kingstown based company, to develop communication campaigns that share the company’s messages of increasing energy security, preserving farm land in Rhode Island, boosting local economies, and reducing carbon emissions. Students used the semester-long project to learn how to research audiences, create messages, and pitch proposals to the client.
Thanks to the in class experience, two students had the opportunity to intern with the company in Summer 2015. Emily Dodd and Nicole Anderson, both Public Relations majors, worked with WED staff to plan and coordinate 2016 public relations events, create press releases and design new publicity materials for the company. Emily and Nicole were able to apply their PR knowledge by overseeing social media campaigns as WED brands itself in the digital realm. The students also were exposed to the business side of renewable energy, learning how to create Requests for Proposals for future wind energy projects.
This is just one example of the PR program’s many courses that connect the classroom to Rhode Island industry. The PR curriculum is designed in an effort to make the classroom a real world laboratory for refining students’ public relations skills in a rapidly evolving communication climate.
Students enrolled in Michelle Curreri’s PRS200: Introduction to Event Management class had the opportunity to tour URI’s Ryan Center and Boss Arena! Through in-depth research prior to their visit, students developed their knowledge on the history of the Ryan Center and Boss Arena, learned about its staff members and read up on the promoter’s guide.
During the tour, students had the opportunity to meet with staff members and learned the process of event management. This included the entire event process from initiation and selection to full management and follow-through. Students also had the chance to incorporate their own questions, which helped to frame their visit. On top of it all, they were given a behind-the-scenes tour of both the Ryan Center and Boss Arena, an experience they will surely never forget! Next month, Curreri’s class will take a tour of URI’s Boss Ice Arena, another exciting stop on the road to event management. Stay tuned!