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PRSA Students

Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA)

PRSSA Leadership Retreat  

The Blue Ridge Chapter PRSA is the sponsoring chapter for the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapters at Liberty University, Lynchburg College, Radford University, Washington & Lee, and Virginia Tech.

In 1968, 20 years after its own establishment, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) founded the Public Relations Student Society of America. The declared purpose of PRSSA is to cultivate a favorable and mutually advantageous relationship between students and professional public relations practitioners.

The student society aims to foster the following:

  • Understanding of current theories and procedures of the profession
  • Appreciation of the highest ethical ideals and principles
  • Awareness of an appropriate professional attitude
  • Appreciation of Associate Membership in PRSA and eventually accredited membership

Today The Public Relations Student Society of America has more than 8,500 members in 270 chapters on college campuses across the country.

PRSSA Mission

  • To serve our members by enhancing their knowledge of public relations and providing access to professional development opportunities;
  • To serve the public relations profession by helping to develop highly qualified, well-prepared professionals.

PRSSA Structure

  • PRSSA Headquarters - The Society's headquarters office is located in New York City, under the direction of the PRSSA director and other support staff.
  • National Committee - The PRSSA National Committee is comprised of 14 members: the National President, the Immediate Past President, six Vice Presidents, the FORUM Editor-in-Chief, the National Webmaster, the PRSA Board Liaison, the PRSSA Director, the National Faculty Advisor and the National Professional Advisor. The student members are elected (National President and Vice Presidents) or appointed (FORUM Editor-in-Chief and National Webmaster) at the National Assembly and serve a one-year term from June 1 to May 31 of the following year. As a member of the society, you have the opportunity to run for an office on the National Committee; not only is this a phenomenal leadership development opportunity, but you will also be contributing to the continual success of PRSSA. 

PRSSA Communications

PRSSA provides dozens of media for communication between individual members and the Society's national leadership. Please take advantage of these resources to stay abreast of the many opportunities made available to you through your membership. Here are some ways to connect with PRSSA's leadership:

  • The PRSSA Web site is the information link between the National Committee and local chapters. Members should turn to the site as their first source for PRSSA information, as most every document that is mailed to chapters is published online. In addition to important PRSSA news and information, the site provides professional development resources such as job and internship listings, links to other public relations resources, and contact information for other PRSSA chapters.
  • PRSSA-Talk, the PRSSA mailing list, engages members in discussions about the PR profession and PRSSA's many programs.

    Read more about PRSSA online communications

  • National Mailings: Every two months, PRSSA mails a news and information packet to each chapter's advisor. This packet includes copies of "Connecting with PRSSA," a bimonthly national newsletter for chapter leaders, and copies of various documents related to national awards, scholarships, competitions and general Society business. Your chapter advisor receives his or her national mailings by the 10th day of September, November, January, March and May.
  • FORUM, the PRSSA national newspaper, is produced three times each year and is distributed to each PRSSA member. FORUM contains Society news, tips on the PR industry, tips about writing, job-hunting and other relevant topics. All members are encouraged to write articles for the newsletter. FORUM is a great opportunity to build your portfolio by being published nationally. 

Awards & Scholarships

Each year PRSSA and its sponsors give away nearly $20,000 to winners in national scholarship and awards competitions:

  • National Gold Key Award - The National Gold Key Award is the highest honor given to members who demonstrate academic excellence in public relations and leadership qualities in PRSSA.
  • The Betsy Plank/PRSSA Scholarship - The scholarship recognizes academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, practical experience and commitment to public relations.
  • PRSA Codispoti Technology Section Grant - This grant, sponsored by PRSA's Technology Section, is open to all PRSSA members with an interest in high-tech PR.
  • National President's Citation - The President's Citation was created to celebrate and honor outstanding members of PRSSA.
  • Bateman Case Study Competition - The annual competition gives students an opportunity to exercise the analytical skills and mature judgement required for public relations problem solving.
  • Professor Sidney Gross Memorial Award - This award is presented to the PRSSA student who demonstrates superior understanding of ethical principles in public relations.


Travel Opportunities

An added benefit of membership in PRSSA is the opportunity to travel to exciting cities across the country to participate in professional and leadership development programs. Each year, PRSSA hosts two national events, and at least 10 regional activities. Recent destinations have included Miami, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Orlando, Baltimore and Nashville.

  • National Assembly - This spring event serves as the governing body for the Society as well as the training ground for chapter leaders. During this event bylaw changes are voted on and the new National Committee is elected. One voting delegate from each chapter, along with other chapter leaders interested in leadership training, attend this event.
  • National Conference - The PRSSA National Conference offers an exciting opportunity to learn about the field of public relations. Students from around the nation convene each fall for four days of workshops, a Career Expo, resume critiquing, networking opportunities, social events and much more. PRSA and PRSSA hold their conferences concurrently to facilitate networking. 
  • Regional Activities - Hosted by individual chapters in various locations, these events are a great way to meet students and professionals in your area. A traditional regional activity consists of one to three days of sessions and social events. Regional Activities are normally held over a weekend in the spring.

Affiliation with PRSA

An underlying strength of PRSSA is its relationship with its parent society, PRSA. You will often hear people say that public relations is about 'who you know.' And PRSA is the 'who' to know. With more than 20,000 members in 124 chapters in the major PR markets of America, the PRSA/PRSSA partnership offers you a vast network of potential employers.

  • PRSA Associate Membership - Taking part in the PRSA Associate Membership program is the greatest benefit offered to PRSSA's members. As a graduate and member of PRSSA you have the opportunity to become an Associate Member of PRSA for only $60 per year. Associate Membership can be held for only two years and at the special rate. 
  • PRSA Relationship Building - Each PRSSA chapter has a parent PRSA chapter. As a member you have the opportunity to be invited to PRSA events, including monthly luncheons and meetings, at little cost. These events open a world of networking and learning

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