New club on the block

It is no secret that St. John’s has a wide variety of extracurricular activities. From performances to sports to academic organizations, something is always happening around campus. This semester, a group of students feel that the school can offer even more, and they are doing what it takes to be recognized.

Under the supervision of Professor John DiMarco, director of the undergraduate Public Relations Program, a group of more than 20 students has been working together as an organization to promote the idea of a public relations club at the University, entitled Brainfeed Productions.

The idea for this organization coincided with the introduction of the new public relations major at St. John’s. While being a PR major is not necessary to join the club, the organization will primarily peak the interest of those who are currently studying it or thinking about going into the field.

The ultimate goal of Brainfeed Productions is to work on projects to benefit not-for-profit organizations, including St. John’s University, through the use of integrated media services such as print, web and broadcast. The group is unique in that it is intended to run like a business. Like a business, you can’t just jump right in and start doing the work. Before you can really “open up shop,” you’ll need to first map it out.

For the students working on this organization, this semester has been about the basics – a name, a logo, mapping out a Web site, holding elections for officers and creating a list of by-laws.

While the process has not been an easy one, it has certainly been a learning experience. Junior Celeste Angelillo, Secretary of Information, said, “I was interested in the new club because the public relations major is so new at the University. I knew that it would be a great tool to give us some practical PR experience outside of our classes. It will also give us a chance to build a portfolio.”

In September, the planning was already well underway. To ensure the smooth running of a club of this nature, many positions are considered essential, including president, vice president of operations, vice president of finance, vice president of communications and secretary of information. A group was created on the popular networking site, Facebook, for students to post their platforms for an officer position. Students were able to read each other’s “speeches” and vote via an electronic ballot.

Furthermore, interested students could volunteer for staff positions, such as client manager, project manager, creative director, graphic designer, webmaster and writer. All of these positions represent the important aspects of public relations. Now with an official name and officers who were elected in October, the club has been able to move forward to other tasks, like creating a logo and compiling content for a website.

Most importantly at the moment, the students are brainstorming projects to help gain recognition, which would include campus events in addition to promotional campaigning. The club hopes to one day be able to host seminars with professionals as guest speakers to talk about their careers in public relations, to give students an idea about what the real world of Public Relations is like.

“Projects would also include doing press for other organizations on campus,” said President of Brainfeed and Public Relations Major Liz Muentes. “We want to promote the club and we hope to expand the number of members in the future. I hope to have a fantastic year with everyone and accomplish our goals.”

Celeste agreed and also hoped that the club would gain even more respect from other organizations. “One significant task that we hope to accomplish in the future is to gain recognition as a chapter within the Public Relations Student Society of America,” she said. “There is a detailed application process but once your chapter is accepted, there are a lot of great opportunities that this organization offers.”

The PRSSA, according to their Web site (www.prssa.org), currently has more than 9,600 members in 284 universities across the country and serves as a bridge between students and professional public relations practitioners. Whether or not St. John’s will become the 285th University in the PRSSA remains to be seen. Regardless, and although it is still in the planning stages, Brainfeed Productions promises to be a worthwhile addition to campus life.