Point Park organizations adapt to coronavirus 

Written By Alexis Wary

Many Point Park organizations, supporters of future teachers and public relation experts have moved ahead with virtual meetings and events in spite of COVID-19. 

Lena Werner, the Secretary of Future Educators of America (FEA) said that, “We want to encourage members to accept that this is a reality and not allow this to be a setback.”

Due to COVID-19 student organizations like Future Educators of America (FEA), Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), and Advertising Federation (AdFed) have to find new ways to engage and involve members into the group which would normally be easier. These groups are unable to meet in person and are forced to meet through technology, hold events that follow COVID-19 guidelines, and find safe ways to recruit new members and spread the word about their group. 

FEA is an organization at Point Park that focuses on preparing students that are  interested in being teachers to be successful in the field. Normally, this is a very hands-on club, and members get to make face to face bonds together. They help volunteer at events and give back to the community. 

The FEA President, Lily Fields, talked about how one of the biggest struggles during this time is recruitment. Usually they are able to host a table at the showcases and go to classrooms with underclassmen and inform them about the organization, but they had a virtual showcase and made flyers instead.

Despite COVID-19, their goals for this semester are to still show that even during a time like this, educators are still important and needed. 

“We want to show the members what we want for our students and what we want for their students,” Werner said. 

FEA wants to show their members that they are important and feel supported. They said they hope this leads to them teaching their future students that they can do anything and feel supported through their own journey.

Another group of organizations at Point Park is PRSSA and AdFed. Their mission, which is posted on Point Sync is to, “help students begin their networking, developing professionally, and gaining insight into the field while still in school.”

Both PRSSA and AdFed found that their biggest concern is engagement.

 “Engagement can be done with new members who aren’t sure of the personalities of the group,” Nick Jones, President of AdFed, said. 

Due to social distancing, they talked about how it becomes difficult to work with new members and get them acclimated.

During a normal semester, before COVID-19, PRSSA and AdFed would bring in local professionals as speakers, go out and work in the city with professionals, and work with parent organizations such as Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Pittsburgh events and the American Advertising Federation (AAF). 

Following COVID-19 guidelines, PRSSA and AdFed hold virtual meetings and are finding ways to help members gain experience and build their portfolios during this time. They want to work on reaching out  to local Black-owned businesses and nonprofits. 

AdFed has fortunately confirmed two events occurring this fall. One event is a Personally Branding event being hosted by Oyster Creative, a local downtown agency. Students will be able to participate in this workshop virtually. AdFed is also hosting The Pitch, where students are able to get assigned to agencies and work on campaigns with them virtually.

Despite COVID-19, President of PRSSA, Emma Christley, talked about how virtual participation can also be a positive. They are going to work on bringing on speakers outside of Pittsburgh and work with other college chapters including Clarion and Waynesburg virtually.

Both FEA and PRSSA/AdFed want to make sure that their members can get everything they can from this semester and build portfolios to show employers that they were able to gain experience during a pandemic. 

“I want to show that we are able to succeed through anything,” Nick Jones said.