CSUN’s Public Relations (PR) Practicum has set together a new program that has become a legitimate student-run PR class, called Agency 398.
The revamped class has become a hands-on experience in the world of PR for everyone who takes the class. Agency 398 was the Public Relations 398 Practicum, which was more of a social media class that would help different clubs on campus instead of actual clients, said Teja Foster, media relations coordinator.
“We’re trying to give a hands on experience,” said Foster. “Now we’ve taken [the class] into actual real-world clients to give an outside experience, and almost build student’s resumes, that don’t get a chance to actually get internships.”
Foster mentioned the two main goals of the agency was to give students a hands on experience and get student’s ready for the workforce.
The Agency currently holds five different clients, the Los Angeles Fire Department, Dogs For Jobs, Yuru, CSUN’s Journalism Department and Agency 398 themselves.
Travis Newman, the supervisor of the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation (LAFDF), mentioned an upcoming annual event, the Fahrenheit Gala. LAFDF specifically hired Agency 398 to publicize their annual event, said Foster in an email.
This event will help raise money to purchase equipment that the department can’t afford, such as gurneys and brush helmets for the many stations in the LA area, said Newman.
“It’s obviously very important,” said Newman. “Not only the fire department, but paramedics in both of these departments they don’t have a lot of money.”
The President of LAFDF is aiming toward drawing in a younger crowd of 25 to 35 year olds, with money, said Newman. The gala will take place on June 6 and feature celebrities Queen Latifah and Loreen Arbus.
“[The students] are coming out workforce ready,” said Agency 398 Professor Brenda Lynch.
The Agency’s directors and supervisors have been going around from class to class to pitch what Agency 398 is, so that students know what they’re getting into as a class, said Foster.
Weekly status reports are delivered by both supervisors, Sofia Jamil and Shirley Jean Jalmani, to Lynch. Jamil connects with the vendors and has a more hands on approach, while Jalmani works behind the scenes building the website, said Jamil.
There are multiple drafts of pages on the website, since the students are building the Agency from the ground up, said Jamil. The agency is in the process of drafting the pages of their website, which is set to launch at the end of this month, said Jamil.
“We’re trying to prep students,” said Foster. “Not only do they have to take the practicum, but we’re trying to get them excited to get that experience when they come here.”
The agency has achieved the social media aspect through their Facebook and Twitter pages.
“As much as we can tweet, post Facebook posts, there’s nothing like going and actually talking to someone and giving them a visual, and helping them understand,” said Foster.
Foster and Agency 398 director Rikki Wise have been visiting journalism classrooms to give a 10 minute presentation to spread the word on Agency 398 and take questions.
Jamil said that talking student to student brings a level of comfort, because they will tell you how the course is instead of trying to talk the course up. She said that students would sometimes assume that they were going have random businesses that would take the Agency’s services for free.
Jamil said that the agency would take clients and work with them pro-bono, but they will also take clients who will pay them.
The money that is made from the clients will go back toward the Agency to help push it forward and keep it going for the future students of the class to come, said Jamil.