STORY BY THOMAS SCEARCE
Each year, numerous Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapters from across the country spend countless hours filling out paperwork and conducting interviews in order to host a regional conference. Only 10 universities are selected.
This year, Drake University was one of those 10.
From April 10 – 12, Drake PRSSA will be host “Expect the Unexpected,” which is the theme of the conference.
The $75 registration fee covers three full breakfasts, a plated dinner and admission to see 15 speakers. The conference will be held at the Des Moines Renaissance Savery Hotel.
The conference is aimed at highlighting some of the unexpected things that make Des Moines unique while also focusing on surprising parts of journalism and public relations.
Senior public relations major Taylor Rookaird is one of the Regional Conference Co-Coordinators for PRSSA and has been working alongside the planning team for the past few months.
She is excited to see all of their hard work culminate this weekend.
“We are really excited and proud to be able to bring this to Des Moines and Drake,” Rookaird said. “Being selected just goes to show that we are really driven and at the top of our class. A lot of hard work and preparation has gone into this.”
Kelly Tafoya, senior public relations major and fellow Regional Conference Co-Coordinator, highlights the work the team did both when planning event and before the bid was submitted.
“Prior to bringing it to campus, the biggest thing was submitting the bid. Taylor and I went through a lengthy bidding process with paperwork, interviews, post-plans and traveling to D.C. once we did get the bid,” Tafoya said. “Once we finalized that, we focused on connecting with alumni and getting the right speakers on campus.”
Having well respected and high profile Drake alumni at the conference was an important feature to the executive team.
“We are very excited to have many Drake alumni and such a great Drake representation at our conference,” Tafoya said.
Speakers from Edelman/Starbucks, John Deere, HBO and Walt Disney are just a few that round out the lineup. PRSSA sees this as a learning and professional opportunity that students can’t pass up.
“Not only is this a great professional development opportunity, but students can expect a great learning opportunity from many Drake alumni,” Rookaird said. “They’ve been in our shoes, they’ve taken classes in Meredith and have learned what we are now. It’s a great way to see where your Drake education can take you.”
PRSSA Faculty Adviser Kelly Bruhn has worked closely with the chapter and praises them for their hard work.
“I’m incredibly proud of our leadership team,” Bruhn said. “They’ve really taken this challenge head on, and they’ve done a really good job navigating a pretty difficult situation, so I really hope that students take advantage of this opportunity because it’s going to be a really great conference.”
For more information, visit unexpecteddsm.com