By: Analleli Penaloza

After Cal State Fullerton transitioned to virtual instruction, many were uncertain about how life would unfold due to the impact of COVID- 19 and its subsequent. Although a virtual setting would entail challenges, CSUF PRSSA took measures early on to ensure their members would still receive a valuable experience. Here’s a run down of what they did to accommodate the virtual transition.

1. Continuing with Outreach Virtually

With it being announced that the Fall 2020 semester would be fully virtual, many clubs and organizations had to figure out quickly how to reach new members. 

CSUF’s club rush, known as DiscoverFest, exposes students to existing clubs and organizations on campus. This Fall 2020, Discoverfest was something entirely new for everyone under a virtual setting, but CSUF’s PRSSA took full advantage of the event. Executive Board members were on the Zoom call awaiting for students to enter their organization’s session, and were ready to share with students the benefits that PRSSA had  to offer. Many board members were unsure how things would go, but also thought that being able to speak to prospective members was a great experience. 

Outreach efforts also extended to doing PRSSA pitches within virtual class settings. PRSSA’s VP of Outreach, Rhett Rivera, stopped by virtual classes via Zoom and let CSUF students know about PRSSA and the possibilities it had to offer. 

I spoke to him to get his take and he stated, “Zoom pitching this year was something that was intimidating, but once I got used to it, it wasn’t so bad.  I know I was nervous at first because oftentimes almost no students have their cameras turned on so it can feel as though you are talking to yourself.  On the other hand, however, not having a ‘real’ audience in front of you kinda takes the pressure off.  After pitching in front of a couple of Zoom classrooms, it actually became fun to relate my experience with PRSSA to other students!” I couldn’t even imagine, but I commend him for his hard work and continuing outreach efforts as best he could.

I had actually attended virtual Discoverfest and stumbled across PRSSA’s Zoom Link and decided to join. For me, virtual Discoverfest was a new experience and I didn’t even know what to expect upon joining the call. Once I joined, I spoke with a few Executive Board members who informed me of what PRSSA was and the benefits it had to offer. I learned about their events and committees and from there, I decided to become a PRSSA member and get involved. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made. 

2. Hosting Virtual Events 

On September 16th, 2020 CSUF PRSSA hosted its event on Diversity & Inclusion. Being the first official virtual event to be hosted, there was a lot of uncertainty about how it would go, but the Executive Board remained optimistic. They had high hopes after they had a big turnout for their virtual Kickoff event. Even though they had expected a drop in memberships after the virtual transition, they ended the semester with over 130 members!

      The Diversity and Inclusion event also had a huge turnout and members were still able to engage with the panelists. The virtual event was held via Zoom, with the link being provided to attend. As someone who attended their virtual events, I can truthfully say it was great to still be able to attend virtually, listen to each speaker, and ask questions to the panelists. Virtual events are unique and wonderful experiences!  

3. Participating in PRSSA’s SoCal Coalition 

Due to the virtual transition, CSUF and other PRSSA chapters within Southern California united to provide students with more content by hosting virtual panels for one another. This proved to be a great way to stay connected and network with other PR individuals across SoCal. CSUF participated and hosted an event on October 14th about Personal Branding. There was a mixture of event attendees from variousPRSSA chapters. Also, other chapters, such as Biola’s PRSSA chapter, hosted an event and in attendance there were CSUF PRSSA members, taking advantage of the new opportunity offered and listening attentively to what the panel speakers at the event had to offer. The great thing about things being virtual was that it opens up new opportunities for people to take advantage of, otherwise not being possible as if events were in person. 

Overall, even though virtual transitions proved to be challenging, CSUF’s PRSSA chapter continued to excel in their efforts to provide students with great experience throughout this semester!