The Star Chapter Award program was established in 2008 to recognize outstanding Chapter and professional development. Southeast Missouri State University is one of 27 of the more than 350 Chapters nationwide recognized as Star Chapters. Southeast’s Chapter is the first PRSSA Chapter in Missouri to receive this honor.
“Dr. (Susan) Gonders and I are extremely proud of this exceptional group of students,” said Mike Simmons, instructor of mass media and co-advisor to the Chapter along with Gonders. “This is a significant achievement for the PRSSA Chapter here at Southeast Missouri State University that reflects both how dedicated this group of students is to their professional development, and to the overall strength of the mass media program here.”
Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, said, “This is a wonderful award and to be Missouri’s first makes it even better.”
Sam Sanchez of Springfield, Ill, president of Southeast’s PRSSA Chapter and a senior public relations major with a minor in computer/multimedia graphics, said the designation is the result of hours of dedicated effort.
“When I first realized our Chapter received this award I was completely ecstatic,” Sanchez said. “There was so much hard work and determination that went towards achieving this goal, including long, grueling nights to plan some of the events we held.”
Sanchez says Southeast’s PRSSA chapter offers learning opportunities for both its student members as well as faculty and other Southeast students seeking professional development opportunities.
“From hosting guest speakers in the profession to taking a group of 17 members to San Francisco to attend the national conference, we try to offer the most professional development opportunities as possible,” he said.
Sanchez says membership in PRSSA offers students an array of benefits.
“Members of this organization get out of it what they put into it. This organization is all about getting involved and opening those doors to greater opportunities,” he said. “Those members who are involved and attend professional development events will be the individuals who excel in the profession more quickly than someone who may not be in the organization. Members are offered real world experience, opportunities to network with professionals in the field, mentors with the PRSA St. Louis Chapter, internship information at the click of a mouse and, most importantly, a bundle of networks with future colleagues within our Chapter and surrounding Chapters.
“With an ongoing list of opportunities we offer our members, I’m positive that the aspiring public relations professionals will greatly impact the profession,” Sanchez said.
Chapters meeting at least eight of the following 10 requirements qualified for consideration for the Star Chapter Award. PRSSA-SE met nine of these requirements.
• Initiate and complete at least one community service project. • Strengthen the relationship with the PRSA sponsor Chapter. • Give attention to ethics in at least one Chapter meeting. • Apply for at least one individual Chapter member National PRSSA scholarship or award. • Apply for at least one Chapter National PRSSA award. • Implement at least one national initiative. • Attend the national conference, national assembly, leadership rally or regional conferences. • Gain positive attention for the Chapter in at least one campus or community publication or other media. • Extend an invitation to students and faculty from other disciplines to attend at least one Chapter meeting. • Application of at least 10 percent of graduating seniors for PRSA Associate Membership.
In addition to Southeast, other 2013 National Star Chapter recipients are: University of Alabama, Biola University, California State-Fresno, California State-Fullerton, Sacramento State, University of Delaware, Georgia College & State University, Indiana University, Indianapolis University-Purdue, Western Kentucky University, Louisiana State University, University of Nebraska-Omaha, Elon University, Fashion Institute of Technology, Capital University, Kent State University, Ohio Northern University, Geneva College, Millersville University, Waynesburg University, Belmont University, University of North Texas, University of Texas-San Antonio, Utah Valley University, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and West Virginia University.