Perks of Joining Student Organizations: Traveling

From the moment a stu­dent walks onto the campus of Monmouth University, he or she is bombarded with flyers, emails, and verbal advice that stress the importance of getting involved in student clubs and organizations. The overwhelming insistence can be a turn off for some students who simply want to go to class and be done with their day.

If there is one thing we have learned during the past four years, it is that the need to be in­volved not only on campus but within your major is too crucial to put in words. We can easily tell you that joining a club or or­ganization will give you more experience and knowledge into what you are already studying. However, there is a more exciting aspect of being a part of a group: you can travel the country.

As executive board members of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), we are grateful for the many op­portunities that we have had to travel to national conferences out of state. We have traveled to Orlando, Florida, San Francisco, California, and Albuquerque, New Mexico for PRSSA National events.

“Our chapter of PRSSA has given the University a more prominent presence on the na­tional level during the past few years, and that is something that improves our credibility and membership,” said Sheila McAl­lister, faculty advisor of PRSSA.

Not only did attending these events allow us to network with other students and professionals, but they also gave us incredible opportunities to sightsee other parts of the country; something that we would not have had the opportunity to do otherwise.

During the first week of April, we ventured cross-country to Al­buquerque, New Mexico for the PRSSA National Assembly, the first National Assembly at which MU has ever been represented. In addition to attending the as­sembly, where we voted on the upcoming PRSSA National Com­mittee and bylaws, we were able to explore what Albuquerque had to offer. Experiencing an entirely new culture was the most excit­ing part of being a part of this huge event. We were able to share our experience with many other students from around the country as well.

“Meeting people from other PRSSA chapters is my favor­ite part of attending national events,” said Chris Bonelli from Virginia Tech University. “The environment of the conferenc­es mixed with the hundreds of representatives from so many schools makes for such a fun time, especially being in a differ­ent state and completely different culture.”

In October 2012, five mem­bers from our executive board traveled to San Francisco for the National Conference, the third National Conference that our chapter has attended in as many years of existence. While the conference consisted of sessions for chapter development and tips for the profession, it allowed us plenty of free time to explore all that the city had to offer.

In October 2011, eight execu­tive board members flew down to Orlando for the National Con­ference, the second one that our chapter has attended. As with the conference in San Francisco, we were able to bond as leaders and friends while exploring down­town Orlando and Disney World. We were also able to connect with our faculty advisor and professor Sheila McAllister, on a more per­sonal level outside of our office.“The executive board and I make an effort to have a close relationship,” said McAllister. “National conferences allow us to learn more about each other as individuals, and that helps us trust each other in the classroom and at our club’s meetings.”

These conferences and “vaca­tions” have helped us see how special being a part of an orga­nization really is. As college stu­dents, we have an independence that we sometimes take for grant­ed.

Even though we decided to pursue PRSSA as a student or­ganization, MU offers over 75 student-run clubs. For example, the Outdoors Club held a white water rafting trip earlier this year and are venturing on a camping trip at Wharton State Park this weekend. SAB, the student activ­ity board, offers trips to places such as Boston and Philadelphia. Another recent trip was held by the Sociology Club as they visited the Tenement Museum in New York City.

Joining a student organization can benefit you in more ways than with a pen and paper. You truly do create amazing memo­ries from the abundance of op­portunities that you are given, particularly outside of the class­room and meetings.

PHOTO COURTESY of Victoria Jordan