PRSSA tours athletic facilities

Ben Voelker

Students in the Public Relations Student Society of America, or PRSSA for short, took a tour of the athletic facilities at the Troop Center to understand the inner workings behind building and advertising a successful athletic program.

“The first purpose of this meeting was to expose students to the Troop Center and all of the facilities related to supporting athletes,” Faculty Advisor Shawn Orr said. “It allowed public relations students to get a behind the scenes look at what athletes at AU experience.”

Orr said the tour covered many different aspects of sports PR, including relations with alumni, parents, and recruits. After the tour, the group sat down for a meeting with Brendan Bitner, the Director of Athletic Communications for Ashland University to discuss the uses of social media such as Instagram and TikTok to reach students and build their brand.

“We got to hear him talk about his role, what a day of work looks like for him, and what his job consists of,” PRSSA President Rachel Miller said. “It was just really cool to hear from another person working in the field and what his career is like first-hand. It really opened my eyes to just how diverse a PR major is and how many different directions you can go with this degree.”

The tour was led by athletic students who were able to introduce the group to others who frequent the Troop Center. They met with equipment managers who talked about the importance of uniforms, student-athletes who talked about how doing study tables builds relations with the program, and laundry workers who clean athletes’ jerseys and keep them fresh for games.

“I didn’t know we had a specific position on campus for somebody that’s in charge of gear,” Miller said. “It was interesting to hear from him because I didn’t even know that this position was a thing.”

Both Orr and Miller agree that this tour had a great significance for the entire group.

“It was cool for a lot of people to do something different and get to see a building on campus that they would normally,” Miller said. “For me and others who are starting to think about what they’re going to do after graduation, it’s extremely beneficial to hear how you can do.”

“Because of COVID, we have so many fewer opportunities to gather face-to-face and be socially distanced,” Orr said. “It really gave us an opportunity to meet one-on-one and connect. And I think that is an immeasurable benefit.”