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It was a very good weekend for Advertising and Public Relations students for three reasons:

1. Students Take First Place for First Time in National Advertising Student Competition

Student presenters with Affiliate Professor Frank Blossom (far right).

The Grand Valley State University Advertising Team won its division in District 6 AAF (American Advertising Federation) National Student Advertising Competition [NSAC], one of the largest NSAC competitions in the nation. 20 universities from Michigan, Indiana and Illinois competed, including Michigan, Michigan State, Illinois, Ferris State, Wayne State, Central Michigan, Butler, Purdue West Lafayette, Purdue Calumet, Western Michigan, Indiana University, Northwood University, University of Southern Indiana, Columbia College, Marian University, Ball State University, Augustana College and Notre Dame. This is the first time GVSU has won the title to move on and compete for the national championship.

“This has been a crazy ride,” said Patrick Vander Kolk, Account Executive of the team. “Our team has invested over 10,000 hours the past 32 weeks toward this end, and it’s surreal to think that all of those hours paid off. From day one, the 25 of us have believed that our ideas can add value to the Nissan brand. I’m glad the judges recognized that today.”

Twenty-five GVSU Advertising/PR majors worked for two semesters on an advertising campaign for Nissan, as did other students competing across the country. The goal is to give the GVSU School of Communications students real-life experience in an ad agency atmosphere, preparing them for the ad industry.

The GVSU team of five presenters–Patrick Vander Kolk, Amanda Villarreal, Gabriel Carter Ashlie Wigent, and Elizabeth Miedema–pitched the campaign to judging teams comprised of advertising professionals and Nissan marketing executives.

2. Students Host Regional PRSSA Conference in Grand Rapids for First Time

Members of the GVSU Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) hosted the first PRSSA regional conference in Grand Rapids on Friday and Saturday at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. The student leaders had to get everything approved for the regional conference–which attracted students from several colleges–by the national office of PRSSA.

Called “Limitless PR,” the conference featured tours of Grand Rapids PR and media offices on Friday. Saturday was dedicated to panels and presentations from a variety of public relations professionals in the area, ranging from health, to sports, to nonprofit and other aspects of the profession.

The conference got a mention in MLive during the weekend.

3. Student Run PR Firm Showcases Client Work in Open House

Students interact with area professionals at their GrandPR open house.

Students who work in GVSU PRSSA’s student-run PR firm, GrandPR, hosted an open house on Sunday at the Eberhard Center. They showed the work they have done this past year for clients.

This past year the students had 10 clients, both paid and pro bono, including ArtPrize, Boardwalk Subs, Waterfront Film Festival, and others. The students put in more than 2000 hours of work–all outside of class assignments–to gain professional experience.

GrandPR is one of only 20 student-run firms to be affiliated with the national PRSSA office.

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