NMU PRSSA members discuss most rewarding aspects of club


Photo courtesy of Kate Gunville

CONFERENCE – NMU’s PRSSA chapter in Dallas, gaining insight from professionals and building connections with other members over the course of a few days. PRSSA meets at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in Jamrich 3100 and is open to students of all majors.

Harry Stine

Kate Gunville, political science junior at NMU, is the president of PRSSA. The name stands for Public Relations Student Society of America, but the title in no way limits the kinds of people that are in the group, Gunville said.

“I think there’s this misconception that you have to be in [public relations] to be in the club, or you have to be in the college of business,” Gunville said. “And that is not true. I’m not in PR, and I run the club.

Gunville said the club is, at its core, a professional development club that has a reach throughout the country, with chapters in plenty of colleges and universities. Members will learn a great deal about public relations from the club, as it gives them opportunities to practice professional networking, various PR practices and all sorts of the “businessy side of the world that you don’t always get in a classroom.”

“I think that my personal benefit has been the connections, the networking that I’ve gotten to do,” Gunville said. “I’ve gotten to meet some really incredible people in the professional world, who have shown me careers that I really want to pursue and some careers that I’m like, ‘that’s not my thing.’”

Gunville joined the group her sophomore year, when a coworker of hers in the dining hall raved about PRSSA and the annual Coffee Crawl the group organizes. She soon went to a meeting and found the environment welcoming, with interesting group dynamics and discussions that piqued her interest.

Grad student Nicholas Jones also entered the club his sophomore year. Having learned about the group through word-of-mouth, he decided to sit in on a meeting, and then another, and then he found himself volunteering for the group’s events.

Jones credits the club with giving him a stronger sense of responsibility and creating both personal and professional connections for him on campus. He also mentioned that some of their bigger events, such as the Coffee Crawl, gave himself and others a great opportunity to learn more about event planning and marketing without too much stress on their shoulders.

Senior Mia Hickey, the group’s vice president of social media, called the Coffee Crawl “super rewarding,” and referred to it as an event that helps bring awareness to a cause, while still creating a fun environment for participants.

Last November, the club was invited to a PRSSA conference in Dallas, Texas to meet and network with other chapters of the group. Gunville was able to attend in person, while Jones and Hickey were able to experience the conference back in Michigan on Zoom. All three described the conference as rewarding, with many connections being built from all across the country. 

“It was a lot of information, and a lot of content,” Gunville said. “But it was so amazing, and very impactful. I think it was probably my favorite experience so far in PRSSA, if I had to choose one.”

Hickey pointed out that the communication skills in the group can be applied to political science, online communications and just about anything in the business world. Jones added that the club is a great place to push yourself out of your comfort zone, while being surrounded by students who are just as ready to learn as you.

“I think there are so many benefits that I don’t see a reason why someone shouldn’t come to one meeting and just try it out,” Gunville said.

PRSSA meets Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. in Jamrich 3100.