PRLab hosted an overnight hackathon last weekend. PHOTO COURTESY PEXELS

On Nov. 3, I participated in an 18-hour overnight night public relations “hackathon.” The event ran from 6 p.m. on Friday to noon on Saturday and was hosted by PRLab, which bills itself as the nation’s longest-running student-organized public relations agency in America. The night was filled with activities and prizes, but the event was focused on developing a PR plan for the nonprofit assigned to your team.

My team was assigned Citizens for Juvenile Justice (CfJJ), which is a nonprofit that advocates on behalf of youth in the juvenile justice system through lobbying and advocating for new legislation. The organization is amazing, and the representative who came to speak to our team of 20 is passionate about her mission. It was our job to take what she said to us and turn it into a tangible and relatable set of “deliverables,” such as a pamphlet, brochure, case statement, and a media list. We were on a mission to give her well-established nonprofit a centralized mission statement. By the next afternoon, five of us remained still editing and preparing for our final presentation, something I didn’t think I would achieve so early in my college career. I am eager to continue to build on the skills I practiced at this event for the rest of my career, and learn from those around me.

As a sophomore in the College of Communication, I knew I was interested in the world of PR and would love an opportunity to see how PR “works.” There’s many definitions of the field, and a constant need to define what I’m studying to my peers and family. After that night my definition of public relations is: a chance to explore many different interests and discover your passion. Public relations encompasses so many different skills and talents in one field. There were graphic designers, copywriters, media specialists and research writing experts. The power of PR is that we were able to come together as a team and combine our skills to make something that will be used by CfJJ for a substantial amount of time. The ability to learn from all of the incredible professors, team members, and other members of PRLab was an incredible experience, and one I will remember moving forward in my academics and career.