By Allie Hitchcock
Getting to attend PRSSA’s National Assembly in Austin, Texas this month has been my biggest PRSSA moment thus far in my collegiate experience—the event that has shaped me the most and has made me realize why I love PR. I had the honor of representing IU in voting for PRSSA’s National Committee for this upcoming school year and attending various workshop and training sessions while there.
I started my trip bright and early with a 4:50 a.m. departure from the IMU. Thanks to various layovers, I didn’t get into Austin until later that afternoon, giving me ample time to interact with other delegates. We had a welcome reception that evening, and then I took the opportunity to explore the city with some other student representatives, making sure to sample the authentic Tex-Mex and Voodoo Doughnuts!
The next day was full of training sessions. We started with chapter officer sessions, dividing into groups based on our positions within our chapters. As Co-Director of Programming and Professional Development, I got the chance to chat with other students about issues their chapters were dealing with, ranging from fundraising to engaging members. We then had another trio of training sessions with discussions on empowering younger PRSSA members, developing authentic personal brands and transitioning exec boards at the end of each school year. We then broke for lunch—Texas barbecue, of course—before returning to the hotel to hear from Brandy King, a communications director with Southwest Airlines.
Saturday was the longest but most important day of National Assembly: voting for the new National Committee. The process lasted from around 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., quite a feat. Hearing from all the candidates, not just the ones who ultimately got the positions, inspired me and made me realize the passion students across the country have for PRSSA. One of my roommates at the hotel got a position, much to my excitement. The new Board seems truly excited and ready to start the new year.
We wrapped up National Assembly with an inspiring and emotional speech from David Grossman, author of No Cape Needed: The Simplest, Smartest, Fastest Steps to Improve How You Communicate by Leaps and Bounds (we each got a copy!), focused on how to live authentically as young leaders. We also got a fun preview of the 2016 National Conference, close to home in Indianapolis this year.
And then it was time to catch our flights home! National Assembly taught me some very valuable lessons to take back to our chapter—I have a notebook full of notes to prove it—but more importantly, it taught me how to build actually meaningful connections with like-minded people from all across the country. My roommates, for example, were from Rhode Island, California and Ohio—quite the spread—and I now am lucky to have them in my life as true friends. I am so grateful for the opportunity to represent our PRSSA chapter and feel more excited than ever to be studying PR.