PRSSA to promote student businesses

by Beacon Staff • February 6, 2008

Associated with the Public Relations Student Society of America, The Emerson Group is providing public relations consulting to E3 students as they develop and promote their own business ventures.,The student-run public relations agency The Emerson Group has teamed up with students in the Emerson Experience in Entrepreneurship class, known as E3.

Associated with the Public Relations Student Society of America, The Emerson Group is providing public relations consulting to E3 students as they develop and promote their own business ventures.

PRSA has approximately 21,000 members, making it the largest organization of public relations professionals worldwide. PRSA offers various member benefits, including access to its JobCenter, an online resource that connects members to both job and internship opportunities.

Sarah Hutton, vice president of public relations for the Emerson chapter of PRSSA, said the primary focus of Emerson's PRSSA is to provide practical public relations knowledge and experience.

Members should be able to bring what they've learned into their careers, through meetings and discussions with industry professionals, and tours of leading public relations agencies in the Boston area.

The group has previously done pro-bono work for a variety of local businesses, and currently does public relations work for JC Designs, a Boston-based jewelry company.

In September, The Emerson Group teamed up with E3, a year-long class that leads to a minor in entrepreneurial studies and has students create their own business ventures.

Students eventually present their work at an exposition to potential business and capital partners, which is the capstone of the course.

E3 is taught by Karl Baehr, who in September 2007 was recognized in Fortune Small Business as one of the top professors of entrepreneurship in the country. Baehr began teaching the course at Emerson in 2005.

"It's an eight-credit class, so there's definitely a lot of work involved," said James Wormser, a junior animation major.

In E3, Wormser created a beverage company called Root Boy Soda, which specializes in making an all-natural ginger ale.

Wormser, who has been making his own all-natural ginger ale since trying a version of it at a restaurant in the seventh grade, said that The Emerson Group has provided him with helpful feedback and advice since he began working with them. Over the next few months, The Emerson Group will begin helping him launch his product into the general market.

The Emerson Group works with E3 students as public relations advisers, and to assist them in the development of a solid business campaign, said William Wheeler, who is the vice president of PRSSA.

"Our main goal is for [E3 students] to be knowledgeable on P.R. strategy," said Wheeler. "We want them to know the right things to say to create a positive image of their company."

Wheeler said that the partnership provides a student-to-student mentorship, by giving both PRSSA members and E3 students the opportunity to hone skills in their respective fields through working with each other.

Junior film and TV/video double major Stephen Francis said the work that the group has done for his record label, management firm and recording studio State of Mind Music Group has been helpful. The company, in business for about a year, currently represents four artists and has an office and studio in New York City.

Francis, who created State of Mind with Syracuse University student Anthony Gentile, said that The Emerson Group has set up press releases for the artists he manages, and has also provided his company with industry connections.

Baehr said that as the E3 program grew, it seemed natural to engage students to help other students push their products off campus

"The Emerson Group has professional experience, but at the end of the day they're not wearing a suit and tie," he said "They're still students, which eliminates barriers between them and the students in E3."