|Students taking the lead|
A new academic society catering specifically for public relations and communication students was formed at the University of Johannesburg.
A common complaint from the profession about recent graduates is their lack of innovation and imaginative output. There exists a perception that public relations students are incapable of taking the lead or being dynamic. Well, all that is set to change with the formation of the Students’ Public Relations Association (SPRA) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Bunting Road Campus.
The brainchild of two third-year public relations students, Lonwabo Ganelo and Klenkie Mpotu, the aim of SPRA is to provide good training and development opportunities for public relations students. “ We want to produce balanced, professional and innovative public relations practitioners as well as support the public relations department.”, says co-founder and secretary general Lonwabo. Having fleshed out the idea, the two approached UJ department coordinator Rene Benecke. Upon receiving the department’s blessing, they set upon working on its constitution and organising an executive committee. This was crucial in creating the portfolios: training and development, treasury, publicity and media, projects and fundraising. There are also deputies for the chair, secretary general and training and development.
The SPRA will abide by the PRISA Code of Conduct and Ethics and it will be mandatory for students to be members of PRISA. It will fall under the PRISA student chapter and be endorsed accordingly. At the launch at UJ, PRISA director Adele Paulsen expressed her pleasant surprise and plans to improve and develop SPRA. The students are now taking the initiative and acting as the change agents who will effect progressive improvements and higher standards of professionalism. As future leaders and torch-bearers, it is heartening to see such passion and active participation from the new generation. Looking to a brighter future and better tomorrow for all practitioners, the students are confident they will succeed in their plans. A final word from SPRA chair and founder, Klenkie Mpotu states, “We believe in our society and have big ideas for it. With the support of PRISA, academic institutions such as UJ and the public relations industry, we will realise our ambitions and reach our goals.”