May 3, 2013
Baylor PR student Lauren Kastner (2nd from the left) met delegates from other PRSSA chapters
By Allyssa Schoonover, journalism student
at the National Assembly in New Mexico on April 4-7.
Lauren Kastner, sophomore journalism major, represented the Baylor University chapter at the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) National Assembly on April 4-7, 2013 in Albuquerque, N. M. She attended educational sessions, met PRSSA delegates from all over the U.S. and voted on the new national officers. Kaster was elected to serve as the historian for the Baylor chapter of PRSSA during the spring semester.
Dr. Marlene Neill, the Baylor PRSSA faculty adviser, spoke with Kastner earlier this semester about attending the assembly. As a new officer, Kastner was surprised that she was personally asked to attend, but thought that she would seize the opportunity.
"It is crucial for our students to attend national and regional PRSSA events like this, so that they gain an understanding of the larger PRSSA organization and the opportunities it presents for career and professional development," Neill said. "It's so easy to have tunnel vision and just focus on local chapter activities and not take full advantage of the resources available through PRSSA."
On the first night in Albuquerque, Kastner went to a welcome reception. The delegates had dinner and were able to meet and talk with the other officers from PRSSA chapters. Kastner also met her roommates that she would stay with for the weekend, who all attend universities in Texas.
"We stuck together most of the time and would swap stories about our chapters," Kastner said. "I learned a ton from my roommates about the fun things they did with their chapters to increase membership and to help their members grow in their careers."
One of the ideas that Kastner wants to implement at Baylor next year is agency tours in either Dallas or Austin. While attending the conference she tweeted, "Favorite idea from the Plan Your Semester session-- agency tours! #prssana"
The next day the delegates attended various sessions. Some of these included structured conversations with PRSSA members, and Kastner picked up a lot of ideas to improve the Baylor PRSSA chapter. She tweeted: "Writing & networking opportunities are part of your membership! Take advantage of them for a terrific return on investment." #prssana #prssa"
The final day they listened to the candidates' speeches and voted for the new national officers. Kastner described the candidates as passionate about PRSSA as an organization.
"I would hope that in the coming years that we can develop leaders in our Baylor chapter that will then run for national leadership positions in PRSSA," Neill said.
Kastner said she hopes to implement some of the ideas she learned about in the Baylor chapter, and give members more opportunities to network and grow professionally.
She said she was, "thrilled and honored by the opportunity to go on the trip, and had an incredible learning experience and a fun adventure while she was there."
Kastner was re-elected to serve as historian for the 2013-2014 school year on April 30 during the final Baylor PRSSA meeting for the semester.