A Decade of PR

by Allison Canter and Brooklyn Wilson

GVSU’s student-run public relations firm, GrandPR, celebrated their first decade as a nationally-affiliated firm this past March. Not only are they one of the only nationally-affiliated student-run firms in the country, but they are award-winning for their work.

To celebrate this achievement, GrandPR hosted an event called Timeless Ten at the Grand Rapids-based PR firm, 8THIRTYFOUR Integrated Communications, on March 29. This event not only celebrated the current members of GrandPR and their achievements, but staff members from previous years were also invited to join in the commemoration. Additionally, students and faculty from Grand Valley’s advertising and public relations program, as well as many PR professionals from around the Midwest, attended to make for a wonderful night of networking.

The night began with a cocktail hour of networking and reuniting with old friends while grazing on delicious food catered by Kangaroo Kitchen. The stuffed mushrooms were a hit. Opening remarks were given by Sabrina Antcliff, CEO of GrandPR, followed by speeches from professors and distinguished graduates that played a crucial role in the growth of GrandPR. Retired professor Frank Blossom and retiring professor Peggy Howard were also recognized for their invaluable contribution to the firm and program as a whole.

To properly honor the contributions that Frank Blossom made to the program during his 10 years there, a formal announcement of the “Frank Fund” was delivered at the event. This fund serves to aid students via scholarships and will be given out to students who show dedication in advancing in their careers and professional development. If you’d like to donate to this fund, visit the GVSU giving page.

During Timeless Ten, winners of the annual Superior Awards were also honored, named after the School of Communications building “Lake Superior Hall,” basically a second home to nearly every advertising and PR student. These winners were chosen based on extraordinary class work that exceeded professors’ expectations. 

Among these winners were the firm’s own associates, Teagan Epley, Emily Gagnon and Allyssa Murphy, who received third place in the nationally competitive Arthur W. Page Society Case Study Competition. Their case study elaborated on the sexual harassment allegations made against Google, which inevitably triggered a walkout that was participated in by over 20,000 Google employees in November of 2018.

Leading up to this event, GrandPR participated in ten firm-wide acts of service throughout the winter semester as a thank-you for the continuous support they have received from the community over the past 10 years. These acts include:

  1. Donating and  making a meal for HQ Grand Rapids

  2. Assembling  sack suppers with Kid’s Food Basket

  3. The Humane Society’s Paws, Claws, and Corks

  4. Curating an  archive with GROW

  5. Decorating for Samaritas Senior Living’s   Valentine’s Day event

  6. Collecting  and repackaging feminine hygiene products for Be A Rose

  7. Aiding in  strategy for Grand Valley’s throwback, faux back event Sawyer Day

  8. Participating  in GVSU’s Community  Outreach Week

  9. Writing visitor blogs

  10. Creating five full campaigns for Grand Rapids non-profit organizations in less than 24 hours during CreateAthon

 These ten acts of service created a sense of community for the firm, but also gave the firm a legitimate place in the community. They displayed the sincere sense of gratitude that GrandPR has for the community that has invested in it for 10 years now. In fact, many of the service acts that they hosted exceeded the goals of the firm. For instance, the goal for the Be A Rose campaign was to raise $250 to collect 1,000 feminine hygiene products, and by the end the firm has raised over $550. In just a few months, GrandPR was able to make a great impact on the greater Grand Rapids area through these 10 acts of service that celebrated their decade as a firm.

 It was a night of celebration, recognition and anticipation for the future of GrandPR. A special thank you to Adrienne Wallace, Derek DeVries, Tim Penning, Frank Blossom, Peggy Howard and all past and current staff members who have made GrandPR what it is today. We look forward to the growth and success of the firm in the years to come.