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Public Relations Student Society of America hosts regional conference

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President Alana Zamora of Texas State's PRSSA chapter poses for a photo with members in front of a downtown mural.
President Alana Zamora of Texas State's PRSSA chapter poses for a photo with members in front of a downtown mural.

Photo courtesy of Alana Zamora.

The Texas State Public Relations Society of America will be hosting the PRSSA regional conference on Feb. 9 and 10 for the first time.

The conference is one out of nine regional conferences held annually by the national organization. The purpose of the event will be to host public relations professionals so students can learn and network with people in the industry.

Representatives from organizations such as H-E-B, Schlitterbahn Waterparks and the San Antonio Spurs will be in attendance.

Paul Villagran, lecturer and faculty advisor to PRSSA, said that the opportunity to host the event is beneficial to both the school and the students who will attend.

“In the end, it’s gonna reflect well on Texas State,” Villagran said. “It’s a great opportunity to come into the conference and network. If you’re any major, but certainly any kind of communication major, you can go and meet these PR professionals, network, get faces and numbers and contacts and you never know what that can lead to.”

The event marks a major accomplishment for the organization. Texas State’s chapter has worked extensively to secure its bid on hosting the regional event since the summer of 2017. Alana Zamora, chapter president, said that time between setting the goal of hosting and the deadline to apply was short.

“I didn’t know you could host regional conferences. We had to have (the application to host) done by the end of summer,” Zamora said.

Applying was no simple task. In order to have a bid for the national organization to consider Texas State PRSSA, had to assemble a budget, logo, event space and potential speakers.

Villagran said the effort required on the task was substantial.

“It was a pretty extensive write-up, you had to come up with a budget, ideas, themes,” Villagran said. “Shout out to all the students cause they worked throughout the summer to get the submission packages done.”

The chapter is also involved in organizing the national conference that will be taking place in Austin this coming October. Zamora said that the national president will be present at both conferences and that the national event taking place in Texas not only represents the region becoming more active in the national organization but also a larger shift to diversify the organization as a whole.

“National headquarters is in New York, so we feel kinda left out, but we’re there,” Zamora said. “To us, it’s a big thing to us that the national president is coming. A big part to him for why he’s coming is because we’re also hosting (the national conference), his goal with Texas because we’re so diverse here, they’re wanting to diversify PRSSA.”

Charlcee Cervantez, programming director for PRSSA, said that promoting Texas was one of the most important factors in determining which speakers would be present at the conference.

“One of our biggest things was that we wanted to market Texas, Texas itself is like a tourist interest cause we’re pulling students not only from Texas but from Oklahoma and Louisiana, and nationally too,” Cervantez said. “So we chose stuff like H-E-B. H-E-B is all about Texas. We reached out to the San Antonio Spurs, we have someone coming from there. Schlitterbahn obviously started exclusively in Texas, obviously there are other parks now.”

The event will begin Friday Feb. 9 with a mixer for attendees at the San Marcos Rec Hall. The following day, Saturday Feb. 10, speakers will begin the conference from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. in the LBJ Student Center Ballroom. Afterwards, guests will spend an hour and a half exploring San Marcos until meeting again at the Dahlia Woods Gallery for the PRSSA Social.

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