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2009.11.16 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

UNO PRSSA Earns Outstanding Chapter National Award

Omaha - The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) named the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) chapter as its Outstanding Chapter at the 2009 National Conference in San Diego Nov. 9.

The annual awards program recognizes the outstanding achievements of the 284 PRSSA chapters across the nation. To earn Outstanding Chapter, PRSSA recognizes the chapter’s efforts in leadership, community and university service, professional development and internships.

In 2008, 2006 and 2004, UNO PRSSA earned recognition for Outstanding Community and University Service, but this year marks the first time the chapter has earned Outstanding Chapter, the highest award given to any chapter.

“This top national recognition demonstrates the effectiveness of teaching on this campus, “ said Dr. Jeremy Lipschultz, director of the School of Communication. “We are so proud of PRSSA and Maverick PR, their accomplishments and adviser Karen Weber. This award highlights the great work done by all of our students and faculty.”

UNO PRSSA also earned first place in the 2009 National Plank Center Ethics Advocacy Awards, earning a $1,000 cash prize for the chapter and a $250 for its faculty adviser, Karen Weber. The chapter presented “Ethics & Bad Behavior: It’s All About Choices,” a roundtable discussion on ethics with 14 corporate and nonprofit professionals from the metropolitan area as part of its entry. The ethics team, led by Stephanie Bonnett, a senior speech major and Maverick PR vice president of operations, partnered with the Greater Omaha Alliance for Business Ethics. Other team members were senior journalism majors Andrea Ciurej and Shannon Stawniak.

In addition, UNO PRSSA earned third place in the National Organ Donor Awareness Competition for its campus event last spring, “Be a Team Player: Become an MV Donor.” The effort, led by senior journalism majors Alicia Kettleson and Jessica Legg, signed up about 35 new donors and passed out organ donor information to more than 300 students.

Also, during the awards ceremony, senior Juan Carrillo earned honorable mention for the PRSSA National Multicultural Affairs Scholarship.

The conference opened Nov. 6 with chapter development sessions given by eight chapters selected by the National Committee. UNO’s team of Mikaela Knipe, Kristen Martin, Heather Nasif, Cassie Prestia and Jill Sauser presented “Saved by the Bell: Successful Service,” a presentation designed to help chapters build on their university and community service.

Thirteen students attended the five-day conference in San Diego by raising more than $10,000 through various chapter fundraisers including the annual La Notte Italiana Dinner and through earning stipends from their work as account executives for Maverick Solutions, the student-run public relations firm, sponsored by the School of Communication.

Students attending the national conference are all seniors and officers in the UNO PRSSA chapter Maverick PR and/or Maverick Solutions. They include Janna Brock, finance director, Maverick Solutions; Andrea Ciurej, assistant newsletter editor; Bre Gehrken, newsletter editor; Yan He, communication director and Maverick Solutions co-director; Alicia Kettleson, historian; Mikaela Knipe, vice president of networking; Kristen Martin, fundraising director; Jessica Legg, public relations director and Maverick Solutions account executive; Heather Nasif, vice president of recruitment; Cassie Prestia, president and Maverick Solutions assistant director; Jill Sauser, Maverick Solutions co-director; Shannon Stawniak, treasurer; and Sarah Waller, publications director.

For more information, contact Karen Weber, PRSSA faculty adviser at kweber@unomaha.edu (402) 554-2246.

Maverick PR, the UNO chapter of PRSSA, offers students of all majors an opportunity to put their skills into practice through community and university service, professional development and state and national competitions. Founded in 1968, PRSSA is one of the most prestigious pre-professional organizations for students interested in public relations. Today, PRSSA has more than 9,600 members in 284 universities across the United States.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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