Chapter to host 2024 district conference in Chicago

PRSSA ay ICON 2023
DePaul PRSSA executive board members traveled to Nashville for the 2023 PRSSA International Conference. Pictured L-R, starting from the top: Konner Gross, Lilly McCarthy, Bella Enkhtuvshin, Delila Moreno, Emmaeilin Salgado-Diaz, Sarah Thaman and Gisselle Bahena. Not pictured: Juliet Stantz, Eiman Navaid. Image courtesy of DePaul PRSSA.
​DePaul's Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) won the top award at the society's international conference in Nashville, Tenn., this fall, ICON 2023. The chapter brought home the 2023 Outstanding Chapter Award from the Dr. F. H. Teahan Chapter Awards Competition, a 2023 Star Chapter Award, and several awards for individual excellence. ICON serves as PRSSA's annual meeting and awards ceremony, where PR students from around the globe convene for networking, competition, and professional development.

'Outstanding' performance
After winning the Outstanding District Conference Award and a Star Chapter Award last year, DePaul PRSSA was poised to win the Outstanding Chapter award. “We truly outperformed ourselves over the past year in terms of programming, chapter involvement, and career development for our members," said President Gisselle Bahena on the chapter's success. “Our student leadership, faculty adviser, and support from the College of Communication helped make these awards possible for our chapter."

The Outstanding Chapter Award recognizes chapters that exemplify leadership, new ideas, professional relationships, and innovative programming. Star Chapters Awards go to those that achieve a 'gold standard' of excellence by providing stellar programming and relationship-building opportunities for students.

Individual award winners were also acknowledged at ICON. Graduate students Konner Gross, Vice President for Chapter Affairs, and Sarah Thaman, Chapter Vice President, received National Gold Key awards from the Public Relations Society of America Foundation, the highest honor bestowed upon PRSSA members in their final year of membership.

Gross also received the Chester Burger Award for Excellence in Public Relations, for outstanding graduate students pursuing careers in corporate public relations, and the National President's Citation, a special honor conferred upon students who leave a lasting mark on the society. DePaul PRSSA board members Gross, Thaman, Bahena, and Bella Enkhtuvshin each won travel grants to attend ICON 2023.

Chapter is 'PRessing Play' on the future of the industry
DePaul PRSSA chapter leaders concede that much of their outstanding recognition this year stemmed from successfully hosting the 2023 PRSSA Midwest District Conference, PR eLevated. Hosted in collaboration with Columbia College Chicago, PR eLevated brought over 200 students and professionals to DePaul for networking and agency visits. Bahena and Thaman conducted a workshop on the conference at ICON 2023. “Presenting PR eLevated's takeaways at ICON was so gratifying and something that I hope helped inspire a new generation of PRSSA event planners," said Thaman. “Our board aims to plan the upcoming PRess Play conference to be even bigger and better than last year's."

Planning for PRess Play, the 2024 PRSSA Midwest District Conference, is underway. The theme, 'PRess Play,' will empower attendees to act on their future in the industry by uncovering The PR industry's recent evolution and learning how to grow alongside the ever-changing communication and media landscape.

“Now in our third straight year of hosting conferences, we know that it is a huge project for students to take on," explains Faculty Adviser Juliet Stantz. “Even so, I know our team will succeed. I'm so excited to see what great things our young leaders will execute this winter with PRess Play."

For more information, visit the DePaul PRSSA and PRess Play conference websites.

Konner Gross is DePaul PRSSA's Vice President of Chapter Affairs. Gross holds a BA in Communication and Media from DePaul and will graduate from DePaul's award-winning MA in Public Relations and Advertising program in fall 2023.​