A Roll-Up-Your-Sleeves Experience
Sterling Communications is a student-run public relations firm that serves clients both on and off campus and addresses real world communications problems.
“This was entirely a student initiative,” says Jim Sodt, Ph.D., Sterling’s adviser and a professor in the Department of Communications. Sodt, who spent a decade in corporate communications, says the experience students get in dealing with clients is invaluable. “From billing to deadlines to changing client demands to crisis control—everything that the students will see when they land in the real world takes place on a smaller scale right here.”
On-campus clients have included the Student Government Association, which solicited help in creating a get-out-the-vote campaign. One off-campus client needed to find new customers in the SU student body to remain afloat. Sterling did the market research, helped the business owner clearly articulate what she could offer and then created a campaign to get the word out to the whole SU community. The business survived. On a field trip the Sterling team visited with the Tierney Agency, a top Philadelphia advertising and public relations company.
“At the end of the visit we thanked them for their hospitality,” Sodt says, “and we still had a little time, so they said they wanted to hear about Sterling. Even though we hadn’t been planning on this, one of our students stepped up—she was a hall-of-fame caliber presenter—and showed them the work we do, just a brilliant, engaging and clear explanation. One Tierney vice president said he was blown away: ‘I didn’t know any of this stuff in school,’ he said.”
Sterling Communications gives students a chance to put into practice the things they learn in the classroom; and while it’s hard to put a price on that kind of experience, prospective employers recognize the value.
What Is Susquepedia?
Suhs-kwuh-pee-dee-uh (n): A collection of experiences, topics, and personalities that makes Susquehanna University unique.