The University of Alabama’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) was recently awarded four Alabama PRSA Student Awards during the professional chapter’s monthly meeting in April.
The PRSA Student Awards are open to all PRSSA chapters within the state, and nine awards were given this year. The UA chapter won the awards for Outstanding Chapter, University Service and Chapter Newsletter. Additionally, Claire Dubreuil, a junior public relations major, was awarded the Wordsmith award.
Tracy Sims, senior instructor of advertising and public relations, has served as UA PRSSA chapter faculty adviser since 2008. She said that the opportunity for PRSSA chapters to receive recognition strengthens the value of what they do.
“I truly appreciate that PRSA Alabama created this opportunity for PRSSA chapters across the state to have their yearly chapter activities and successes to be recognized,” Sims said. “Such recognition reinforces the value of what they do for their chapter members, their universities and communities, and the public relations profession.”
Sims also said the most rewarding part of her role has been witnessing the chapter grow into a nationally award-winning organization and developing ethical leadership in the public relations field by providing career advice to PRSSA members.
“Over the years, our chapter leadership has focused on ways to increase involvement of our members beyond attending our monthly professional development meetings,” Sims said. “Members now can serve on various chapter committees, helping to create content for our social media accounts, writing for the chapter blog and participating in University and community service projects, for example. The chapter also has strengthened our diversity and inclusion initiatives, electing our first VP of diversity & inclusion in 2017-2018 and developing D&I pillars to guide our chapter activities in 2020-2021.”
Dubreuil, who first joined PRSSA as a freshman in 2019, said being involved with the organization has played a major role in expanding her knowledge of the PR industry and her skillset.
“We are constantly bringing in industry professionals who really want to form relationships with students and also bring internship offers with them as well,” Dubreuil said. “The meetings cover a variety of topics, so there’s really something for everyone and ample opportunities to learn about every area of PR. I think that college students should be taking every opportunity we have to learn while we’re still here, and PRSSA meetings are an easy and fun way to do that.”
Twelve UA PRSSA students have earned national PRSSA/PRSA Foundation individual scholarships since 2014, and since 2012, the UA PRSSA chapter and its PRSSA nationally affiliated student-run firm, Capstone Agency, have earned 22 total chapter awards at the PRSSA national level.
The University of Alabama PRSSA Chapter was founded in 1970 and currently boasts over 180 members. It is a leading pre-professional organization for students interested in public relations, communications and other related fields.