PRSSA Memphis trip inspires students

Union University’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter traveled to Memphis on Wednesday, Sept. 12, to attend the PRSA-Memphis chapter’s September luncheon.

The 16 students, whose majors vary from digital media studies to business were accompanied by faculty adviser, Ashley Blair.

The luncheon, held at The University Club, featured Anthony Siracusa, a local cyclist who discussed how he and other cycling enthusiasts have helped to shape a new cycling culture in Memphis.

Siracusa, who writes regularly for the Commercial Appeal and serves as the Memphis blogger for the Green Lane Project, is the founder of Revolutions Community Bicycle Shop at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Memphis.

Siracusa started Revolutions Bike Shop in 2002 when he was only 18. At the time, his objective was to work with the poor to get affordable bikes for kids in the community. From there, his passion for cycling led him to help turn Memphis into a “bike-friendly” city.

Since his work began in 2002,  Siracusa has transformed Memphis, which was once ranked as one of the worse cities for cycling, into a bike-friendly city with more than 50 miles of bike lanes.

Siracusa’s message centered on the idea that “things do not happen by accident,” but rather through social movements and the importance of slow work.

During their visit in Memphis, the group also visited the Memphis chapter of Make-A-Wish and met with Miranda Harbor, the community outreach coordinator for the Mid-South chapter.

“To be able to see how an organization like Make-A-Wish operates is a great way for students to understand real life experiences,” said Kathryn Flippin, PRSSA president and senior public relations student. “Public relations is not just about writing and behind-the-scenes work.”

The group toured the facility, and Harbor explained the various roles of communications within the organization.

She also provided the group with professional advice about resumes and cover letters, internships and tips to be successful for their future.

“At Make-A-Wish, we learned that it takes more than that to help build a company’s brand,” Flippin said. “Miranda encouraged us to learn the small things, which in return helps make the company run.”