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North Road Communications Becomes Nationally Affiliated with PRSSA

Since 2011, North Road Communications (NRC) has served local nonprofit organizations as part of the Marist chapter of the national organization, the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).

On Jan. 21, 2016, after five years of research, writing, strategic planning, media relations, event planning and more, the student-run public relations firm has been given the privilege of becoming nationally affiliated under PRSSA.

The firm, which currently has 27 members divided among five client teams, “was initially created as a capstone project by a 2011 Marist senior,” according to NRC’s current firm director and Marist senior Monica Couvillion. “Through PRSSA we have recruited members, promoted our services and worked to establish a stronger presence on campus.”

These promotions, an increase in campus presence, as well as the firm’s dedication to doing its best work possible for its clients proved to be enough to make North Road stand out. Among the over 100 student-run PR firms across the country, NRC is one of only 26 that are natioanlly affiliated with PRSSA.

North Road’s faculty advisor is Nadine Hoffmann, professor of public relations, well known to those studying the PR concentration within communications major.  Her dedication to overseeing and working with the firm has paid off in years prior to the firm’s overall success, but has been made a little bit more special with this achievement.

“Being nationally affiliated is an honor and it speaks to the quality of the work that NRC does,” Hoffmann said.

Couvillion agreed, saying that the affiliation “puts us in the highest tier of student-run agencies. This gives official credibility to the growth we have experienced since our inception in 2011 and the professional quality of service we provide to our clients.”

It was not necessarily easy, however, to gain this title. Besides years of hard work students put into the firm, NRC began the lengthy application process for its national affiliation in the spring of 2015.

NRC sent PRSSA a compilation of documents that outlined the firm’s professional structure, a complete client list, the firm’s history, client case studies and much more in order to be considered.

Nearly a year (and many documents) later, NRC can finally boast that is it one of the top student-run PR firms in the United States.

While the affiliation won’t necessarily lead to immediate changes in the firm’s structure, Hoffmann and Couvillion are confident that it will create positive buzz around NRC as a whole.

“This designation gives the North Road Communications name more prestige in the public relations world,” Couvillion said. “We believe that by listing our firm as Nationally Affiliated, it will give outside agencies more trust in our work, future employers more faith in our members’ capabilities and ultimately more excitement surrounding any work NRC produces.”

“It is something that can give us further credibility and show that the firm is on the right track. In the five years since its inception, NRC has grown tremendously, and the firm has become more and more professional every year,” Hoffmann said.

Hoffmann also noted that, “Every year we seem to have more clients and more student members, and that is even though we no longer take on all the nonprofit organizations that approach us or accept all the students who apply.”

With interest in NRC already growing annually, it is possible that numbers and interest will continue to increase due to the air of prestige the national affiliation to PRSSA brings to the table as well as simple publicity around the fact.

Hoffmann believes that being “nationally affiliated with the world’s largest professional organization for public relations” will certainly help to get general campus awareness of North Road to increase, but also to “recruit the most talented and motivated students to join.”

Couvillion and Hoffman both hope, however, that students choose to join not only as a resume builder, but to gain real-world, hands-on experience that they may not get in an entry-level PR position or an internship.

“NRC gives you the opportunity to do some things that interns don’t typically do. You can take on leadership positions in the firm, you can develop and execute strategic plans and you can work directly with clients,” Hoffmann said.

As the firm’s faculty advisor, Hoffman takes the term “student-run” seriously. She is always there to help when needed, but wants students to know that it is their job to make the ultimate decisions and to be in charge.

North Road’s national affiliation is an accomplishment that “speaks volumes about the high quality of the public relations program here at Marist,” Couvillion said.

The firm is grateful for the opportunity to hold such recognition, and hopes to continue to grow its successes in the future.

If you’re interested in learning more about North Road Communications or becoming part of the firm, visit http://northroadcomm.wix.com/nrcmaristcollege.

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