Eight rows of colorful, cushioned chairs were set up across the Friends of the Libraries room on the third floor of Alden Library. The week 5 meeting of Scripps PRSSA was set to begin at 6 p.m. on Monday, February 8, 2016.
Scripps PRSSA or Scripps Public Relations Student Society of America, is a student-run organization within the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. The chapter’s main goal is “to offer members beneficial relationships with public relations practitioners that facilitate the learning, acquiring and development of professional skills -supplemented by educational knowledge- to be applied in everyday decisions”.
A little after 6 p.m., Scripps PRSSA President, Jess Carnprobst, took the floor to kick off the night’s meeting. As a senior and member of Scripps PRSSA, I know the meeting’s typical routine. Every Monday night begins with announcements from the executive board regarding opportunities for dues-paying members, networking trips, and committees. After the exec board makes their announcements, members have the chance to make announcements of their own.
Then, it’s time for the “Member Spotlight” and on Monday, Grace Driscoll was the lucky member. The Member Spotlight is a chance for PRSSA members to share his or her accomplishments, passions, and goals with the rest of the organization. Once the Member Spotlight concludes, a professional speaker is introduced. Monday night’s speaker was Brie Strickland, a Social Business Specialist for Southwest Airlines.
Brie Strickland, a 2014 Southern Methodist University grad, stood up out of her chair and made her way to the front of the room. As Scripps students, most of us were used to hearing job titles involving the words “social media”. So, when Brie mentioned her title as a Social Business Specialist, many eyebrows were raised. Brie went onto explain that social business is “so much more than just tweeting”. Social business is a strategy form that looks at how social media impacts every aspect of a company.
“If you want to work in the social business industry, you need to get as much experience as possible. It’s such a new industry so any chance you get have a social media presence, take it,” advised Brie Strickland.
Scripps PRSSA members were given an inside look at how Southwest Airlines operates their social media.
With nearly 4.8 million likes on Facebook, 1.9 million followers on Twitter, and 185,000 followers on Instagram, it seems like it would be impossible to keep up with all of the user activity. But Brie shared that Southwest Airlines has a Listening Center of 35 employees that work 24/7 answering questions, comments, complaints, and compliments via social media. Brie is involved with a lot of the goodwill engagement and pointed out that social listening is a major key to Southwest Airlines.
The laughter, chatter, and smiles that were shared throughout the meeting helped show how close-knit the Scripps PRSSA chapter truly is. After every Scripps PRSSA meeting, the organization gathers at The Pigskin to have dinner and socialize with that night’s speaker as well as with one another. This chapter will not only provide you with professional relationships but it will also open the door to many new friendships.
Scripps PRSSA is more than just networking trips and Monday night meetings. “PRSSA has taught me not to underestimate the power of people,” tells Scripps senior and Executive Vice President Megan Newton. “We might not be doctors or lawyers but we still have the opportunity to help people and tell their stories. Everyone in PRSSA has different personalities that we can showcase.”
Scripps PRSSA meets every Monday at 6 p.m. in Alden Library’s Friends of the Libraries room. Visit their website for more information on the chapter. And be sure to follow Scripps PRSSA on Twitter and Instagram, @scrippsprssa, for all things PR.