Public Relations Students Tasked with Massive Planning Opportunity

Two public relations students were charged with the challenge of overseeing a partnership between the University of Indianapolis and Ball State to act as host schools for the 2016 National Conference for the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). The conference was held at the Marriot Indianapolis Downtown from October 21 – 25.

Katie Ronzio and Hanna Riffle spent a year putting their education into practice while heading up the massive planning effort. The two students utilized virtual meetings, in-person meetings and emails to make the partnership possible. The Core 12, a group of a dozen Ball State students, backed Ronzio’s and Riffle’s efforts during the conference by providing assistance where needed.

The conference attracted an estimated one thousand public relation students who had the opportunity to network with peers and professionals. Students also learned about current trends in the public relations industry.

Ball State and the University of Indianapolis earned the hosting rights for the 2016 event during the 2015 conference when they submitted a 52-page proposal which the judges approved. “Since earning the right to host the event, our job has been to plan it from the ground up, and then execute daily operations,” said Riffle. In addition to setting up the event, the PRSSA National Committee and 30 other volunteers were on-site to ensure the conference ran smoothly.

Deborah Davis, a faculty advisor for Cardinal Communications and public relations coordinator at Ball State, said that the planning experience will move Riffle and Ronzio into “an elite group of students”.

Now that their project has come to a successful end, Ronzio and Riffle have teamed up to pass on what they’ve learned to future conference coordinators. They are working with Davis on creating a step-by-step procedure for the 2017 conference.