Senior Blog Series: Life Lessons I Learned Along The Way

By: Tarah Bourke


Graduation is just around the corner and I could not be more excited for the next stage of my life. I do have to admit, though, I will miss my time at Ferris. This school has given me a lot- an excellent education, experience that has taught me even more beyond the classroom, mentors to guide me along the way, friends that have stolen my heart and memories that will last a lifetime. I’m sorry, I know it sounds cheesy, but I have truly loved my four years at Ferris.

I have learned a lot of life lessons along the way. All I can say to you younger PRSSA members is take advantage of what the seniors have to say. Learn from our mistakes and maybe what we managed to do right in our time here. You only have four years at Ferris State. Make sure they’re good ones.

Know when to relax.

This was something that I’m not sure I ever really mastered in college. I’m a nerd that really likes to be involved. All I have to say to you other nerds out there is that if you put in the hard work you will reap the rewards later. But, make sure you’re taking time out of your life to have a little fun too. You only get four years in college and you don’t want to only remember how stressed out you were.

Study abroad.

If I could go back, I would have studied abroad for an entire summer and not just four weeks. But even in that short amount of time, I cannot begin to tell you how much I grew as an individual. I learned to be independent, self-sufficient, appreciative of other cultures and see the world on a much larger scale. I know most people can’t afford it. Don’t worry, I couldn’t either- I used student loans. But, find a way and go experience what the rest of the world has to offer outside of Big Rapids.

Take advantage of every opportunity.

I have taken advantage of almost every opportunity that has come my way since starting at Ferris State as a freshman. Each and every experience, whether it was getting involved with an organization, taking on a new job or putting in the hours at an unpaid internship has given me invaluable life lessons and experience that I could not have attained in the classroom. Always consider what comes your way – you never know where those opportunities may lead you.

Find your passion.

Seizing opportunities leads me to my next point. Find whatever it is that you’re passionate about, and make it your career. If you don’t love what you do, then you’re not living. If you don’t know what it is you’re passionate about, then start taking advantage of every opportunity. I never dreamed that I would be going into nonprofit PR, but after my internship with Kids’ Food Basket I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I want to make a difference in someone’s life. That’s something that I’m passionate about. Now, go find yours.

Trust the journey.

If you’re close with me you know this is my life mantra. But it took me a long time to get here. We all want answers and we all want a plan. The unknown is scary. Graduation is scary. But, somewhere along the way you have to learn to trust that everything is going to work out and fall into place. Has it ever not before? So, if you don’t know what life has planned for you, that’s alright. Just trust the journey.

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How to Get the Most out of College

By: Kaitlyn ‘KP’ Patrick

Leadership, Leadership, Leadership. We hear about it all the time. It is something we see in others and it sometimes fires our own ambitions or it is something we take on naturally because it seems to be programmed into our brains. However, I feel both of those are true for myself.

As an aspiring PR busy-body, I am inspired by others’ passion and involvement. Those individuals make me become a more well-rounded leader because I am open to exploring different avenues. This has been recognized by my colleagues and it has inspired many others to become more involved. I naturally have taken on leadership roles since I was a freshman in college and it has truly shaped me into the young woman I am today. It has led to countless opportunities I never would have experienced if I didn’t expand my horizons. I am here to tell you, YOU CAN DO THIS TOO!

There is something for everyone: going Greek, playing an intramural/club sport, joining an organization that’s based off your major, or creating your own. Every university has a “student friendly” center that allows you to find these opportunities, which generally leads to networking opportunities. “

Network, Network, Network. This is another concept that is drilled into our heads that is vital in our area of expertise. These people [professionals, professors, bloggers, etc.] are right; GET MOTIVATED AND GET INVOLVED! Don’t know how? Let me break this down for you:

1. Do your research.
Universities have a hub of some sort that will have a collective database that holds all the student organizations. Look into them, read about them, Wikipedia them, contact the presidents, etc. Search what interest you may have and see if there is an organization that is compatible with them.

2. Attend campus events.
Attend an event and talk to the people that coordinated it. This will help you get a feel of what organization on campus do and if that is something that interests you. Read those campus flyers as you pass through the quad or the different collegiate buildings. They may have a student organization flyer that interests you. After all, that’s how I went Greek: I saw the recruitment flyer, wrote down the dates and thought “maybe this will help me meet people” and it did. (Side note: if you’re nervous, take a friend. They’re supportive and more than willing to go 99% of the time).

3. Step outside your comfort zone.
Everyone has one. Be outgoing, throw your smile and people, and introduce yourself. This is where those elevator speeches and thirty-second “self-sell” speeches come in handy. As you’re talking to those people that coordinated an event, ask when their student organization meetings are and go to them. Then ask yourself, “is this something I can invest my time in?” If so, stay!

4. “Love what you do”
Ferris’ entire PR program is built around this motto. We learn it, love it, breathe it and be it. If you love the organization you’re involved in it will take you places. You will gain experience, friendships and those networking opportunities. It will not feel like a chore or “just something to have on your resume”; it will truly be worth your while. Think of it as an investment.
For Ferris students, you can find more information via our Center for Leadership, Activities and Career Services at or check out your OrgSync by using your search bar.

Hope this helps you #PRpeeps and Bulldogs out there. Happy findings!

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FSU PRSSA Takes on Chicago

By: Katie Thornsberry

Last weekend, members of our PRSSA chapter headed to Chicago for a regional conference. The theme was “The Loop Chicago: Divergent” separating us into factions, like the movie, according to our interests with the types of PR industries we are interested in.



Before the conference, members that had arrived in Chicago got separated into their factions and headed off on agency tours and a scavenger hunt in the windy city. Our chapter, along with other chapters in the region, either went to Fleishman-Hillard and Ketchum, Golin Global, or Comcast Sports Broadcasting Network. We all got to see into the agency side of PR (in pretty amazing firms if I may add) and ask professionals any questions we had. The scavenger hunt took us to some major tourist attractions in the city, including The Bean and Crown Fountain in Millennium Park.

At the end of Friday, we all headed to Edelman (another incredible firm) to participate in a case study and be judged by professionals on the staff there. They presented the case to rebrand Starbucks to get away from the girly, basic image, and appeal to more men and diverse people. We got into groups, brainstormed, worked with many people that we had just met for the first time and came up with some pretty great ideas.


The conference began with many incredible professionals in the public relations world speaking to us. The first panel we were presented was Advertising vs. PR. We heard professionals from different agencies and advertising firms give advice and answer questions. The main points I learned from this panel was that it’s more about understanding and working together than public relations and advertising “versing” each other. Also, Kathleen Henson, owner of Henson PR Consulting, brought up an amazing piece of advice that stuck with me: “Act like you can.” If you are hesitant to begin a new task, or don’t believe in yourself to do something, just act like you can do it. You’ll prove to yourself what you are capable of and grow as a professional and person.

For the remaining segments, we broke off into seminars of the different PR industries that interested us. First, we either listened to professionals from entertainment PR or fashion PR. For the next groups, it was either political or nonprofit. We all had a chance to discover the different sides of PR and form an idea of what we could see ourselves doing in the future.

Lastly, we all came back together to listen to Maureen Bausch, the CEO of the 2018 Super Bowl. We heard her story of how she started her PR career at the Mall of America before it opened and handled their crisis of the negative comments it was receiving. She helped to turn the negativity around and make it known as the major tourist attraction it is today. She touched on how to have brand protection and continue growth so things won’t get boring and sales won’t die down. She showed anything is possible when you work to achieve it and you may fulfill dreams you didn’t even know existed. She did begin as a fourth grade teacher after all, and now is the CEO of a major sporting event!

Overall, it was an amazing weekend exploring Chi-town, spending a little too much money on souvenirs, making new connections, learning more about the industries, and bonding with our PR peeps.  We all learned some great advice and have amazing memories to carry with us from this trip!

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Client Spotlight – Hospitality Management Blog

Each semester, Public Relations Student Society of America takes on various clients within their student-run PR firm. Some of these clients include registered student organizations, local businesses and various campus events. The client that we are spotlighting this week is the Hospitality Management Gala.

By: Jordan House

Well for starters, unless you’re in the hospitality program, you highly underestimate the amount of stress you can be under as a human being. Once you’ve been a part of the Hospitality Management Gala team you learn a whole new meaning to stress and time management. I’ve never seen a group of people come together and start with so little, and allow it to blossom into something so massive and spectacular.

Backing up now, I’m Jordan House, a junior in the Public Relations program, and the current Public Relations Manager for the Hospitality Management Gala. I was blessed to be appointed to this position through my program’s RSO, PRSSA. I’ve since learned the meaning of working under a time crunch, and it’s possibly one of the most rewarding feelings ever when everything is fully accomplished.

Thus far, my team and myself have written over 20 press releases, distributed them to different cities around Michigan, radio stations in Big Rapids and Grand Rapids, and conducted a radio interview where I was featured on the radio! All these tasks are things that I could never have done without getting out of my comfort zone and using my PR knowledge while on the Gala team.

At the actual event, everything we accomplished came together and worked out fantastically. The meal was incredible, with a professional Steampunk Executive Chef creating most of the items, and other Executive Chefs dishing up the appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, and dessert items. Several awards were given out to students, faculty, advisors, and community members; speeches and thank you’s were given, and auction items were sold without a hitch.

All in all, Gala was an experience that has changed me for the better. I got to know an amazing team of people and watch them accomplish extraordinary things, and I was able to temporarily become one of them! If you are ever given the chance to join the Gala team, or anything like it, the task is not easy, but it comes highly recommended by me. Now my time has come and I am retired from my position at the ripe old age of 20, I’ve become a wise old woman. So take my advice, get out of your comfort zone; try applying yourself to something completely terrifying, and you might just see how awesome it can actually be!

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How to Have Fun (and Stay Safe!) on Spring Break

By: Kaitlyn Baase

Spring break is right around the corner! It doesn’t matter if you are leaving the country, leaving the state or just staying at home, there are plenty of ways to make the most out of your spring break.

Out of the Country

If you’re headed out of the country for spring break, that’s awesome! One thing I would suggest doing (besides getting a tan) is trying the local cuisine. It’s always a great experience to try something you never would, especially if it is a country’s specialty. I also suggest trying something you would never do at home. For example, if you’re headed to a resort, try taking an excursion and go snorkeling or something. You will probably have to fork over some extra cash, but the experience will be worth it!

Out of State

If you’re headed out of state, make sure you make the most of your vacation. If you are driving to your destination, make sure to make pit stops at the craziest tourist traps you see. The destination will be great, so you might as well make the ride just as great! Also, make sure that you are checking out some prime tourist attractions in the area. There is more to spring break than sitting on the beach. Get out and do something!

Staying at Home

Just because you are stuck at home does not mean your break has to be boring! Is there a store or a restaurant in your town that you have been dying to go to? This is your chance! Spending spring break at home is also the perfect time to catch up on sleep, reading, TV or even homework.

Regardless of where you are going, please make sure that you are following these safety tips

  1. Watch what you are posting on social media- Just because you are having a great time living it up on the beach doesn’t mean your future employers are. Make sure you are being careful with the content you are posting, especially since it is the prime time for recruiters to check out your social media
  2. Use the buddy system- If you are not at home, make sure you are using the buddy system. That way, you have each other’s backs in case something goes wrong (which we hope doesn’t happen!)
  3. Be safe- Don’t make silly decisions. Just because you aren’t with your parents doesn’t give you a reason to go crazy and start breaking the law. Remember- laws are in place for a reason: your safety. Make sure you are staying safe, following the rules and being smart.

No matter where you are going, spring break is a time to kick back, relax and unwind before the second half of the semester begins. Enjoy it everyone and have a great time!

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Ferris State PR Welcome Guest Speakers

By: Lauren Dooley


On Thursday, February 19, Ferris State PRSSA welcomed guest speakers Bruce Borkovich, the head of Ferris State Department of Public Safety, and Sandy Gholston, Social Media/News Services Manager at Ferris State University to their meeting. While they presented, here are a few of the questions that they touched on about “Crisis communication.”

  1. What is the process of telling parents about a crisis that happens at school?

According to Sandy and Bruce, the first thing that happens is that it goes out on, where it is then shared on various social media networks, including Facebook and Twitter.

2) How much time do you have to release a press release after a situation?

It depends on the situation that we are working on. You have to “feed the beast” when it comes to press releases and keeping the media informed. However, you have to make sure you have as much accurate information as possible which might take a little longer.

3) What is the worst crisis you had to deal with on campus?

Bruce- The shooting incident at Venlo was probably the worst. I have only worked for Ferris for about two years, and it was the first big crisis that we had to deal with. Making sure that the subject was apprehended, while keeping students safe was a difficult matter.

4) If its an off campus crisis does Bruce still handle it?

Ferris DPS is always dispatched if there is a threat of any kind to the campus, or students that attend Ferris.

5) Most important things you have learned throughout your career?

The most important things that we have learned in our careers are the ability to admit when you’re wrong and the ability to explain to the press and to the community what is going on within a situation.

6) Is it better to give the minimum necessary information or be honest and expose all that you have?

You have to be honest about all of the information you have. It helps build trust within the community and being upfront with all of the information you have is absolutely necessary.

The most important thing you must know is that you can’t say “no comment” to the media. That doesn’t build trust and they will learn to not trust you as a reliable source for information.

7) What do you believe the term off the record means?

Off the record is a generational saying that has become obsolete nowadays. It doesn’t help, and it doesn’t help build trust with community about their safety with what is going on.

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We are #PRProud

By: Chandler Owen

This year, Ferris State PRSSA has accomplished some amazing things for our community, university, and organization. From our Za Best of Za Best event to working with local clientele, the success we’ve had in our 2014-2015 year is something to be #PRProud of. But none of it could have been made possible without the contribution and effort of each of our members in Ferris PRSSA.

Let’s see who we’re all #PRProud of:

Shelby Austin: I’m #PRProud of our awesome Prez, Kaitlyn Baase, for taking this chapter to the next level and the rest of E-board (Kaitlyn Patrick, Emma Thibault, Tarah Bourke and Arielle Borkovich) for going above and beyond. And all the new members who jumped right in and took advantage of all the opportunities available within their first meeting!

Arielle Borkovich: I’m #PRProud of Natalie Bycraft for landing an internship in Malta!

Kate Bewak: I’m #PRProud of Emma Lavengood for being the first one to bring in essentials for OBK!

Carman Plank: I am #PRProud of Chandler Owen for being a go-getter and helping me withthe “Dress For Success” presentation!

Natalie Bycraft: I’m #PRProud of Arielle Borkovich for being our first-ever VP of Alumni Relations! I’m #PRProud of Shelby Austin because she’s going to Spain this summer to study abroad! And I’m #PRProud of Kate Bewak for taking on the role of our Relay for Life captain this year!

Chandler Owen: I’m #PRProud of Alexa Torres for taking on so many blog duties in Chapter Development. & I’m #PRProud of Carman Plank and Kaitlyn Patrick for keeping our section on track and effective!

Kaitlyn Patrick: I’m #PRProud of Jordan House and the client relations team for taking on Gala as a client!

Ferris State’s PRSSA is #PRProud of all of our incredible members that have done exceptional work over the past two semesters!

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