Like most things in Chicago, snow neither shut down Depaul University nor kept students from getting to class on Tuesday. The public relations students lucked out! Two members of the Zapwater team – myself and Susie Schreiber - were invited to present an overview of public relations, the transition of the trade, and integration of new social media strategies for clients to the class. Despite the snow, probably lack of sleep and likely a significant level of anger that classes had not been canceled, the students were very engaged (I don’t think more than two people fell asleep) and had some great questions for the Zapwater team.
Many of the students wondered how PR professionals handle tough social media issues (i.e. Negative comments about a client on a blog.) Others eagerly awaited the “Question and Answer” portion of the presentation, where we discussed the Zapwater internship program and how to acquire the elusive public relations internship – which is required for full-time experience but often requires a significant amount of experience itself.
At the end of class, and to the students’ disappointment, we presented an assignment. Luckily, it was a fun spring break-themed option for their team PR projects. Susie and I had a wonderful experience with the Depaul public relations students. Speaking to non professionals often sparks creativity or serves as a refresher on the basics that even we PR pros need from time to time!
To our delight, we were invited back to hear each team’s presentation. So we will return in a month and see if our PR lecture helped the students put a modern, social-media spin on their projects. Zapwater values these types of speaking opportunities around Chicago. They allow us to stay connected with new talent and provide students with a glimpse of real-world experiences within their classroom settings.