On March 17 a mix of local businesses and young professionals will connect at Olivet’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) club“Green with Networking Envy” event from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Warming House.
The event is co-sponsored by the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce, the Young Professionals Network, and Olivet’s very own PR firm, Inspired Strategies.
“The upcoming networking event is a way for many of Kankakee County’s businesses to meet the best and brightest Olivet has to offer. In return, those students can learn about our thriving community and what it has to offer them,” said Barbi Watson, Executive Director of the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce.
Communications professor Liz Kerns, administrator of the club, said the project was formed to build bridges with Olivet’s surrounding community. She further emphasized that students in every field need to learn the skillsets of networking. “Students should never have to walk into their first professional event without any idea what to do,” Kerns said.
Immediately after joining PRSSA in January, freshman Danielle Snuckel started to help with the event’s development. While she was new to her PR major, Snuckel expressed how terrific it was to immediately receive real-life job training. “I’m doing event planning and PR without even taking the classes first,” she laughed.
Business administration and marketing sophomore Hayden Keifer said the event allows the students planning it to get their hands dirty and find real world opportunities. His experience with graphics made him the perfect man for the job of poster design, and now his work can be found all throughout campus.
“In all my years of teaching, I’ve never seen freshman and sophomore students working at something with so much passion,” Kerns said.
The Chamber of Commerce in Kankakee played a major role in the creation and progress of the networking event. Their goal throughout the process was to connect needs in the local community with students who are “craving” opportunities. Business leaders, medical professionals and engineers have all accepted invitations from PRSSA. Kerns emphasized that the bridge between Olivet and the local community is already strong, “we’re just reinforcing it.” Keifer added that this opportunity will allow businesses to learn what the Olivet community is really like, since it may appear to locals as a “closed-off” territory.
While the event’s focus is networking, a secondary purpose emerged early on in the planning process. Sophomores Emily Raduns, Steven Novinski and Steven Case had the idea to create their own philanthropic campaign. Novinski defined their project as an effort to inform churches and local businesses on the issues of fair trade and human trafficking. Their project, “Chocolate and the Sex Trade System,” raises money and awareness through speaking engagements and corresponding bake sales. The trio is preparing to provide their baked goods for the networking event.