Gaining real world PR experience through Creative Consultants

Written by Brianna Rape, ABJ ‘17

Public relations students at the University of Georgia are constantly searching for hands-on experiences in PR outside of the classroom. Known for their over-achieving personalities, PR students are highly involved with organizations throughout campus.  
Especially within the Drewry Chapter of PRSSA, some students showcase their initiative by joining Creative Consultants, UGA’s student-run PR firm. Creative Consultants teams are hired by actual clients in the Athens community to create and implement public relations plans.  
“Creative Consultants is the perfect way for students to serve the community while also gaining invaluable experience that will help them get future internships and jobs,” Director of Creative Consultants Sophie Frankham-Smith says.   
This year, one of the clients is the Clarke County Mentor Program, a local non-profit organization that provides mentorship to elementary school children in the area.  
Emily Greenwood knew she felt passionate about the Clarke County Mentor Program, saying, “In high school, I served as a mentor for kindergarteners at a local elementary school, so the Clarke County Mentor Program stood out to me because I know organizations like this usually lack funding and can use help with promotion and awareness.”  
Being an active member of a Creative Consultants involves more than just showing up to weekly meetings. Teamwork and collaboration by all team members are key to success. In this rare opportunity, students take on the role of a public relations professional.

“We get to put into practice what we want to do for the rest of our life,” Omekah Edmondson says. “I am receiving real world knowledge and am using what I have learned in my classes and applying them to real situations.”  
Account Executive Kelly Lassing added that “it is helpful to work face-to-face with real clients; it gives you an experience you really can’t get in a classroom.”  
Working as a legitimate public relations team for a client, the team is faced with actual challenges that would be found in a professional setting.  
“We are working with children so there are a lot of limitations due to liability concerns. For example, we can’t use photos of the mentee without parental consent. This makes social media management a bit tricky”, Greenwood explains.
Team member Chelsea Merris elaborates on this topic, saying that “the hardest part of PR work is realizing that the work we do is not necessarily one with immediate or visible results. We are gaining promotion and awareness, and we have to learn how to analyze promotion strategies and tactics success rates from a different perspective.”
Brianna Rape, second year
public relations student
Unlike some organizations that simply provide another bullet point on your resume, Creative Consultants offers an opportunity to gain first hand work experience.  

“Creative Consultants has taught me about all of the intricacies of PR planning,” Junior Account Executive Shayna Fix says. “And I now know that I have experience and a good understanding of public relations that I can share with my team and the client.”

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