Monday, April 11, 2011

Getting Social

This weekend, an organization I am a part of, the Beth Wood Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America at Indiana University, hosted 200 students from throughout the Midwest for the PRSSA Region 9 Conference.

The IU Chapter has 151 members that are primarily students in the School of Journalism focusing their degrees in public relations, but this event was planned by a committee of more than 20 of the Chapter's most dedicated members who had been working together since August. The committee brought in 15 social media and public relations professionals from across the eastern United States for breakout sessions, keynote addresses and networking events.

Students were encouraged to tweet, post and friend throughout the weekend, all in hopes of "getting social" and having a better understanding of how to use social media. The Twitter hash-tag "#GetSocialPRSSA" was lighting up Twitter over the weekend with commentary coming from the different sessions and a feed of tweets constantly rolling on a projector. One person wrote in, "It's awesome to be in a lecture hall and be encouraged to be on your phone. #GetSocialPRSSA."

Special congratulations to the planning committee and thanks to all who attended!

Monday, April 4, 2011

On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!

The Indiana University Alumni Association hosted its Fifth Annual IU Mini Marathon and 5K. Since the race was started in 2006 as a way to raise money for students who are cancer survivors, the Mini Marathon has had more than 10,000 participants and raised more than $100,000 in scholarships for IU students!

IUB students and community members, as well as runners from all over the region, were on-hand for the 5K and 13.1 mile races, the first participants crossing the half marathon finish just after 1:15:00. As the weather warms up (yesterday was a gorgeous and sunny 50+ degrees!), it means it is 5K season, and there will always be a reason to get out, start your Saturday early and get in a good, competitive run!

Monday, March 28, 2011

New Student Groups Always Forming!

As the weather begins to warm back up, I believe its the time of the year where everything else begins to pick up too. Classes will get tougher as finals approach making it even more difficult to sit through those hour and a half lectures while the sun beams into your lecture hall. But at the end of my crazy days as my second-eight-weeks Statistics class lets out at 8:30 p.m., I find comfort knowing that I have a meeting or lecture or activity to look forward to.

A couple friends of mine in the Informatics Department have started one of several new clubs I've heard about on campus. They just had their call-out meeting, and a notable IU alum, Mark Hill, came as the speaker for the event. Hill got his Master's from the Kelley School of Business, and has since become an entrepreneurial tycoon, investing in new businesses across Indiana and developing the Midwest into a tech hub.

The Informatics, Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Computing Club in the School of Informatics and Computing focuses on bringing in speakers who have had success as entrepreneurs in the technology world, and encouraging students to do the same. I think this is one of the cool things about IU, where even though its March, later in the year, and we are amid midterms, students are still inspired to take action and create new organizations, bring new speakers to campus or attempt to improve something.

For more information on ITECC at IU, click here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Roma! Firenze! Italia!

This semester, I have been taking an international public relations course that has studied integrated marketing campaigns, using Italian tourism as a case study. Much like the Media in Latin America course I took last spring, this IU School of Journalism course has a required travel component that takes students abroad for a week-long intensive experience that combines culture and journalism for a full week of fun and meetings with real-life professionals.

There are 600 churches in Rome alone, and 4 major basilicas. We visited the largest, St. Peter’s, on our third day in Rome. For nearly four hours we walked through the Vatican Museum where literally hundreds of thousands of pieces of art are housed from Ancient Egypt to modern Rome. The Museum includes collections of the papal tapestries that show the outreach of the Catholic Church, and no surface has gone un-painted, sculpted or mosaicked. I truly could have stayed there all day.

We traveled into the Sistine Chapel and for twenty minutes I sat on a bench on the side of the room and just looked up. The floors are mosaicked; the lower portions of the side walls are painted to look like the papal tapestries that are hung in the adjacent hallway; the upper portions of the side walls have 12 panels depicting scenes from the Bible; the wall at the front where the alter and cross sit houses a fresco by Michelangelo that shows from floor to ceiling more than 200 characters from the Bible; and the famous ceiling has more than 300 individuals depicted from the apostles to the story of the creation of man.

The Chapel itself is just a large room off a hallway of a part of one wing of the main building of the Vatican. I don’t know if I had expected a stand-alone building like Westminster Abbey or Notre Dame, but it was like so many other things, a pleasant mixture of ornate art in an unassuming location. Even the most inconspicuous looking churches have turned out to have the most incredible art on the inside and it was where I spent most of my sight-seeing time.

Built in only ten years, apparently what remains of the Colleseum is only one third of what originally existed. Unfortunately we did not have the benefit of having our tour with the building’s original canopy and were soaked and freezing from the constant less-than-downpour-more-than-drizzle rain and wind with random strong gusts. Our tour guide took us back through much of the rest of Ancient and downtown Rome and explained many of the things we had seen which provided a nice mix of education and understanding to the fantastic wandering we had done.

By the time we left Rome and traveled on to Florence, I knew I was in love with the culture, the people and, of course, the food. If your department has travel abroad opportunities like the School of Journalism, I highly suggest taking it. Mine have only been week-long travel experiences but I can promise, even that short of an amount of time gives you great insight into other cultures that will open your mind and give you a new outlook.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Are You on the SmartEdge?

Since November, I've been on a case study competition team working on improving the financial literacy of students on the IU Bloomington campus. We've chosen to focus on students who work at least part-time, students who live on campus and international students. Through research we have determined that these groups of students have the greatest need for financial education.

So we've hosted financial literacy courses on-campus at the Northwest neighborhood RA training, Foster's Global Village, and two events at the new Union Street complex. Students have told us that these sessions we've hosted have not only increased their knowledge but made them more aware of just how much they need to learn before they graduate and are responsible for managing their own finances. For more information managing your credit, learning about your credit score and how it all impacts you, visit AnnualCreditReport. Remember, you're the only one who can actually improve your credit!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Whirlwind Tour of the Windy City

With the IU School of Journalism preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary this fall, the school has reached out to alumni across the country to participate in the celebrations!

Millennium Park, the site of my favorite tourist attraction-The Bean!

This weekend, 30 School of Journalism Ambassadors and Honors students made the four-and-a-half hour bus drive to Chicago, the second largest hub of SOJ alumni, for a reception and celebration. We networked with alumni, met prospective students and got to know one another better. This celebration was part of a growing trend I see on the Bloomington campus to connect students to alumni and prospective students.

The city!

At Thursday night's reception, alumni enjoyed hearing about all the fantastic programs current students are a part of, including travel courses, organizations, publications and new multimedia courses. We swapped business cards after sharing stories that compared IU past and present before students went out to explore the Windy City.

Friday was packed as students were divided into groups based on our areas of interest and taken on two different media visits. My interest in public relations sent me to Weber-Shandwick and Digitas, two PR firms in downtown Chicago with different takes on an evolving industry. Other students visited ABC, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Magazine.

Students tour the Weber-Shandwick PR firm offices.

We ended our whirlwind tour of the Windy City with a trip to the Cadillac Theater to see Broadway's "Les Miserables." The gorgeous sets, beautiful costumes and talented cast complemented the stunning music and I absolutely loved my first introduction to the classic story. It was a long 36-hour trip, but the networking and opportunity to experience the Windy City was worth the 5 a.m. arrival!

Monday, February 21, 2011

My One True Love.

I believe that hands down my favorite thing (and my friends agree!) about my Willkie apartment is my kitchen -- and all the food that I make in it.

Chicken Parmesan with whole-wheat spaghetti.

Omelets and blueberry muffins for breakfast; sandwich melts and macaroni and cheese for lunch; chicken Parmesan and BBQ chicken for dinner; and desserts--lots and lots of desserts.

Homemade chocolate chip cheesecake with chocolate shavings on top.

There are some great websites like 101cookbooks, delish and cooks that are packed with tons of delicious recipes. With the exception of my cravings for scrumptious desserts, I've been trying to find healthy meals and all these different websites have provided me with the opportunity to find multiple variations of the same thing and pick what seems most healthy. Most residence halls have kitchens on certain floors and all on-campus apartments have kitchens where you can cook delicious (and healthy) meals too!

BBQ chicken, homemade mashed potatoes and steamed veggies.