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March 13, 2009
Vol. 50 No. 17

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Communications Week can benefit all majors

Communications Week in its seventh year kicks off Monday, March 16, and continues through Friday, March 20, giving Susquehanna students many new learning and networking opportunities in the field.

Communications Week, which is planned by Susquehanna's Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), brings speakers from all branches of communications to Susquehanna to help students learn more about the field and to introduce them to people already working in their areas of interest.

Randall Hines, professor of communications and faculty advisor for PRSSA said: "It's a week geared to bringing in speakers from a broad arena of [communication] fields: advertising, broadcasting, journalism, public relations, etc. The talks are open to the entire campus, of course."

In the past, speakers for Communications Week have included a columnist from the Philadelphia News, a Hershey Bears Public Relations (PR) director, Susquehanna's own PR director, an executive assistant for a U.S. congressman, TV and radio personalities, a Web expert, a special events coordinator for the Lancaster Visitor's Bureau and experts in both PR?and advertising.

"These are experts in their fields, coming here at their own expense, to discuss their profession. A few of them are graduates of Susquehanna. Any major could benefit by knowing what's going on, especially with the changes taking place with social media, new media and media convergence," Hines said.

Junior Molly Phillips, Communications Week director, explained that many of the speakers this year will be Susquehanna alumni, showing students what they may hope to achieve with a Susquehanna education.

"I tried to get as many speakers as I could that are SU alumni. They are usually more willing to come speak because they are familiar with PRSSA and with Comm. Week. This is a great networking opportunity because current students may be friends with alumni and can get a foot in the door," Phillips said.

In addition, this year's speakers address a range of communications topics including event planning, portfolio development, entertainment PR, lobbying, the future of newspapers and several others.

Communications Week is for all students, including underclassmen and non-majors.
"Comm. Week is a great networking opportunity and a great opportunity for students to learn more about different areas of communications, especially if they haven't declared their emphasis yet," Phillips said. "Comm. Week gives other SU students a chance to see into the realm of communications and what it is all about, and could potentially interest them in communications."

All the organization of Communications Week has been student-led by the members of PRSSA.

According to the chapter's Web site, PRSSA was founded by the Public Relations Society of America "with the purpose of cultivating a favorable and mutually advantageous relationship between students and professional public relations practitioners." Communications Week continues this mission by providing another outlet for students to gain information about the field.

Because every student is exposed to some sort of media, PRSSA hopes to expand students' knowledge and understanding of the communications field.

"We live in a media-saturated society and can't avoid them even if we try. The average American is bombarded with at least 2,000 advertising messages per day. PRSSA wants students to be discerning consumers of the media. The more we know, the better that task can be accomplished," Hines said.

Phillips added, "Comm. Week is for all students, not just seniors job searching, but for underclassmen too because many of the places where the speakers work hire interns."

"Students should attend the events of Comm. Week because it could really benefit them now and for the future," she said. "It's important for students to better understand the media and communication in general because we do use it everyday, and it is such a huge part of our lives. What I think many people don't realize is that communications is such a broad term and that there are so many different avenues within the realm of communications. This is just another opportunity to learn."


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