Oglethorpe University Opens Up Its Own PR Firm
Valeri Cruz Amaya, Co-Editor
The public relations track at Oglethorpe University only started in the fall of 2017. Since that time, Oglethorpe has started its own Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter and will now be opening its own PR firm mentored and guided by communication professors Dr. Katherine Keib and Dr. Melany Chambers.
The firm has 8 students that will collaborate with one another to reach the goal of their client and fill in roles such as co-director and account executive. The firm, while guided by Dr. Chambers and Dr. Keib, will ultimately be run by the students. The students will be able to gain experiential learning by applying what they have learned in public relations and marketing courses, making decisions for the firm, and coordinating directly with their client.
Dr. Keib said that it was always her goal to get a PR firm started at Oglethorpe after getting the public relations track up and running. After a potential client came forward that they were interested in hiring an Oglethorpe public relations firm, with the experience, resources, and knowledge of Dr. Chambers and Dr. Keib, the firm became a reality.
Some large public schools with PR firms, like the Capstone Agency at the University of Alabama, are nationally affiliated, have more student workers, and more resources. When asked about how Oglethorpe being a small private school could affect the firm, Dr. Keib said that OU’s advantage is how small we are, “Although we are small, we know each other. When Dr. Chambers and I did the interviews, both of us knew most of the students we interviewed. We know students’ skills and abilities going in, [the students] probably have some idea of who each other are, which I think is really helpful in getting the firm off the ground in the very beginning.”
The firm, which will be named later by the students, is being funded by the client and will work similarly to an actual PR firm. The students will handle the budget and invest the money where they see fit. Students were asked what skills and any internships or volunteer experience they’ve done that could be brought to the firm. In order to apply for the firm, it was a requirement for students to have some PR or marketing background through a college course.
While the firm is still in its early stages, Dr. Keib hopes it will continue at Oglethorpe for many years to come. Dr. Keib said, “My goal is that students have this opportunity in the long run, that this continues in a sustainable way where students are able to leave here with a portfolio of work developed through actual client interaction.”