This past winter at SUNY Day, I met some students of SUNY Plattsburgh that are active members of the campus’ successful student-run public relations firm, Cardinal PR. Public Relations is the fastest growing major at SUNY Plattsburgh with 128 students. Here’s my interview with current president, Kyle Kreig.
Q: How did you get started with Cardinal PR?
A: I initially started with Cardinal PR during the second semester of my sophomore year. I loved my major and was looking for a way to get more involved, so I talked to some of my professors and they all suggested joining CPR. It was one of the best decisions I could have made, it has opened countless doors for me.
Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment of CPR?
A: As far as our biggest accomplishment goes it is a toss-up. It would have to be either helping our non-profit client “Hannah’s Hope Fund” win a $250,000 grant from Pepsi Refresh and Chase Community Giving through a social media campaign designed by CPR or receiving a finalist award from the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) for the work we did with Hannah’s Hope Fund. We were the first student-run agency to ever be given a finalist award!
Q: What is the goal for a student working with CPR during their studies?
A: The goal for a student working with CPR is to gain experience and to witness first hand what it is like to work in an agency. Since CPR is student-run the members make all the decisions, set all the deadlines and act as the main point of contact between clients and our agency. It’s an experience that teaches students by engaging them in real PR industry situations.
Q: CPR is a student-run PR program; how do you balance student facilitation and is there an administrator for assistance?
A: We have a faculty advisor, Colleen Lemza, who is one of our PR professors. If we are running into problems or if we have questions she is an invaluable resource to consult. However, for the most part she tends to step back and let the members execute their own decisions.
Q: Where do you see CPR in the future with student growth and project wise?
A: Being the president as well as a senior, I hope for the best when it comes to CPR. I know that they’re going to continue to work hard and please more clients. One way we plan to grow is by pushing the message that we are now PRSSA certified, we became an official PRSSA chapter last week, this is very exciting for us as we are only 1 of 3 SUNY schools to obtain a chapter. Getting the chapter took over a year but I am proud to say that our hard work paid off. We will be making our official announcement that we are PRSSA certified on Wednesday so please stay tuned!
Q: What advice do you have for a fellow SUNY school looking to start a similar program?
A: Some advice I would like to give is, “don’t be afraid to ask for help!” If you want to start a student-run PR agency or PRSSA chapter at your school. Professors, PR professionals and fellow students are all great resources, do not be afraid to utilize their knowledge. They are always willing to assist you if you are taking a step forward to get the most out of your academic experience. Also talk to your SA (Student Association) about starting a club, most of the time the SA has money set aside strictly for students interested in starting clubs. So there you go! A little bit of help from some PR pros and a little financial backing from your campus SA can go a long way.
Q: What type of job opportunities has being a part of CPR offered you?
A: I personally have not been offered any concrete career positions but joining Cardinal PR and PRSSA have led to countless networking opportunities which have great potential to lead to future career plans.