Friday, February 27, 2009

Loyalist PR students launch community media workshop series

Members of the non-profit sector are invited to register for a series of Community Media Workshops hosted by the Post-Graduate Public Relations students at Loyalist College, from March 16th to 19th.

The free workshops are an opportunity for those working within small agencies to discover ways of achieving success with limited resources.

Participants will learn effective evaluation tools for their fundraising and campaign initiatives, where to find grants and how to get them, and how to use blogging, Twitter and wikis to enhance their operations.

“I attended all of the workshops last year and they were very valuable to me,” said Rebecca Foreman, Coordinator of Fund Development and Public Relations for VON Hastings, Northumberland and Prince Edward.

“My background isn’t actually marketing or public relations. I’m a graduate of the Social Service Worker program at Loyalist. When I started working in my field I became interested in fund development and public relations, so while I‘ve stayed in the non-profit sector I’ve changed my career path. The best thing about learning from the students is that their information is current and they have the enthusiasm that makes it interesting.”

Carol Snell, Media Relations Consultant, Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit, also plans to return this year.

“The students were very familiar with blogging technology and were effective in explaining it. It was a good introduction to the subject for me, saving me the time of researching it myself. The students also provided a lot of context about how they use blogging which is important for me to know as a communicator. The highlight for me last year was to have a new subject de-mystified and made easy to incorporate into my activities.”

“I am excited about this year’s seminars,” said Toni Kirby, Executive Assistant, Community Living Quinte West.

“This format is ideal for us as we are a small agency and don’t have the resources to send people away to conferences and seminars. This short and sweet format means you’re not overloaded with a lot of information that is hard to assimilate. There were several staff from Community Living Quinte West who attended last year and five of us are returning this year.”

Stacey Hawkins is one of the Loyalist PR students organizing the workshops.

“Social media is probably the most progressive and fastest-growing communications tool we have learned about and I am very excited to share what I have learned with members of the community. While the fundamental public relations principles and techniques still apply, an understanding of social media and the implementation of that technology into a well-developed communications plan will no doubt give participants an edge in their business endeavours.”

For more information regarding the media workshops call Kerry Ramsay, Professor and Coordinator, Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at (613) 969-1913, ext. 2127 or e-mail

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Loyalist PR student leads women’s volleyball team to provincial finals

Kudos to Loyalist PR student Amy Hoskin, captain of the women’s volleyball team here at Loyalist College.

Amy and her teammates secured a spot in the OCAA Women’s Volleyball Championships this past weekend.

Good luck at the provincial finals, Amy!

Monday, February 23, 2009

I spent this past Saturday at PodCamp Toronto 2009 with two Loyalist PR students and about 500 others. This fantastic (and free!) unconference explored social media from practically every angle, from workflow and the creative process to the connection between faith and Facebook.

Among the highlights for me were:

Learning more about blogger relations with panelists Anita Clarke, Eden Spodek, David Jones , and Matthew Stradiotto

Getting inspired by 16-year-old creative force Michael Mistretta

Sitting in on a live taping of Inside PR with David Jones, Martin Waxman and Terry Fallis

Eating a fantastic smoked meat sandwich at the Mutual Street Deli with great friends (and some new ones)

Getting a fresh perspective on the links between social media and personal branding with Ryerson student Daniel Patricio

Picking up great fundraising tips at “Social Media for Special Causes” seminar with John Sheridan

Meeting up with new people and adding to my Twitter followers (and following)

Surviving the drive home in a freak late-February snow squall

… and lots more.

A big thanks to the organizers and volunteers of PodCamp Toronto 2009.

Sign me up for next year, guys!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Freeze Frame with Kate Shaughnessy (Loyalist PR 07/08)

Today’s Freeze Frame features Kate Shaughnessy (Loyalist PR 07/08) who is now a Program Assistant for the Enrichment Studies Unit (ESU) at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Under the direction of the Department of Arts and Science, the ESU runs academic programs for gifted elementary and high school students.

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Kate completed a B.A. (Hons) history degree at Queen’s University.

Freeze Frame: What made you choose the Post-Grad PR Program at Loyalist College?

Kate Shaughnessy: After my undergrad, I took a year off to work and then decided that I wanted to hone my technical writing and communications skills. I did some research on PR around Ontario and found that Loyalist had a great post-grad program.

Actually, this blog was a big seller for me. I was intrigued by what the students were doing in their classes, sifted through endless accounts of Loyalist alum and their post-grad careers, and was intrigued by all of the volunteer and outreach work that the students were doing.

FF: What do you enjoy most about your job?

KS: The best part of my job thus far is exploring sponsorships. The ESU is a cost-recovery program and at the moment, we have only one sponsor. I am working feverishly to gain some more community support for the unit.

FF: How did Loyalist PR help prepare you for your current position?

KS: So much of what I learned at Loyalist can be attributed to my success at work. A lot of my time is spent coordinating programs, securing appropriate venues, organizing course allocations, liaising with Event Services, the Phys Ed Centre, security and suppliers and synchronizing program logistics. Event planning at Loyalist was a great prep for this field of work.

FF: What three lessons did Loyalist PR teach you?

KS: Only three lessons? Hmmm… First, “You’ll never know if you don’t ask.” This is especially true in the non-profit world, but Kerry definitely taught me that there is no harm in asking for free stuff. All anybody can say is “no!”

Second: volunteer, volunteer, volunteer! It’s a great way to network, build a stellar resume and of course, add value to your own life.

And last but not least – FISH! I have the FISH magnet in my office and it reminds me to have fun at work every day.

FF: So what’s your favourite memory of Loyalist PR?

KS: My favourite memory at Loyalist PR would have to be the Marketwire Morning Mingle networking breakfast. So much work, and too much fun!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Jams 4 Cans rocks out for local food bank

A team of Loyalist PR students, together with Loyalist Print Journalism students, raised 283 kg (622 pounds) of food on Wednesday night in support of the local Gleaners Food Bank.

The Jams 4 Cans benefit concert event was planned and executed as a part of the PR students’ second-semester Event Management class.

"Many Loyalist students brought more than just one can, opting instead to donate large shopping bags filled with canned goods to Gleaners,” says Loyalist PR student Stacey Hawkins who helped organize the event. “It was such a wonderful surprise to realize how effective the medium of music was in encouraging the spirit of giving amongst the Loyalist Community."

“It was amazing to see how many people came out to support such a great cause,” adds Sarah Tummon, another Loyalist PR organizer. “The highlight for me was seeing all the food that was brought in for the Gleaners Food Bank, more than I ever expected. It was a great event for a great cause!”

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Freeze Frame with Karen Windover (Loyalist PR 07/08)

Today’s Freeze Frame is with Karen Windover (Loyalist PR 07/08). Karen is currently employed as the Special Events & Development Co-ordinator at Albert College in Belleville, Ontario.

Prior to enrolling in Loyalist PR, Karen completed a diploma in Fashion Merchandising at Fanshawe College.

Freeze Frame: What are some of your duties as Special Events & Development Co-ordinator at Albert College?

Karen Windover: My duties feel like a bit of everything. I plan events from beginning to end. This includes making the invitations, tickets and programs for the event to decorating and managing the event. Some of my other duties include: using communication tools to keep our Albert College alumni informed(i.e. Facebook and Twitter), building relationships, arranging accommodations and travel expenses with our out of town guests.

I also work on things that are going on around the school; for example, right now I am working with the drama students while they prepare for the upcoming play The Lion,the Witch and the Wardrobe which is being held Friday February 26th & Saturday, February 27th.

FF: What do you like most about your job?

KW: I like all aspects of my job. Literally no two days are the same and I am always busy with a different task. Whether it's graphic design work, sending out mailings, planning an event, going to meetings or getting donations, no two days are ever the same and it keeps things really interesting.

FF: How did Loyalist PR help prepare you for this job?

KW: I feel that the PR program prepared me for my job at Albert College by touching on the many aspects of the "PR World."

FF: What are three skills you learned in Loyalist PR that you're now using on your job?

KW: Indesign, fundraising fundamentals and working with non-profits (i.e. how to come up with creative ideas on NO budget!).

FF: Any favourite memories of your time in Loyalist PR?

KW: The whole year was a good memory. I hope everyone is doing well :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"Africa has my heart": a Loyalist PR student checks in from Uganda

Bryna Jones is a Loyalist PR student who is currently volunteering in Uganda with Outreach to Africa.

In this blog post, Bryna talks about some of her Ugandan experiences so far:

There is nothing in Canada to compare with the poverty in Africa. Even homeless people in winter in Canada have it better than most people here. The difference is the social system. Here, there is none. There is barely an infrastructure for roads, sewage, waste disposal, etc. There is literally NOTHING to support people in a general way, just a lot of non-profits trying really, really hard to touch the lives they can; but without government support it's impossible.

The other thing that makes the poverty completely different is the fact that it is dirty and diseased. EVERYWHERE. Even the dirt is contaminated. People have to defecate in the streets. Livestock live in peoples' homes in the city. Children play in human and animal excrement.

There is no real control over communicable disease here because you still have to have the money to afford the testing for things like malaria, and only after you've been tested will they give out the "free" medication. Completely ridiculous. So most people just live with it, and infect others, and the cycle continues.

There are so many people here too. All the time there are people everywhere. They're just piled on top of each other. And POLLUTION! I can't even explain the air quality.

Even being a student, up to my eyeballs in debt, I am richer than almost everyone I see. Even my six-year-old has more money in RESPs than these kids will ever have. It's disgusting. Every piece of clothing you've ever sent to the Salvation Army is here, being resold. Africa is the world's dumping ground.

It only costs about $200 to send a child to a decent boarding school here, and way less for public school, but there are so many kids on the street. No one has the money to pay for education, and that's what it all comes down to: access to education. Like I said, there are just so many people. The schools have zero resources – only a blackboard, and the kids sit on the floor. No posters, no worksheets, nothing. Today I went to a school where there were 800 kids, and only THREE female squat toilets.

What do these people need? Bottom line: they need money directed to the places that are actually being accountable for where their resources go. Outreach to Africa, the organization I'm with, is one of those agencies that is committed to community development. It’s working, but they need money too. It's never-ending. There's so much to be done.

Despite the negative, there is so much hope here. But don't ever think they don't know what they're missing. They do. It's just that there are some amazing nation changers in the young adult generation, and people who are doing great work, and reaching goals, and bringing education, health care, and a future to the children here. But it's so overwhelming.

On an individual basis, we need to reevaluate how we steward our finances. We need to see that people everywhere are our concern. They really are. This trip will totally change the way I spend my money. It's amazing to think what $200 can do for the life of one child, and then how it will reverberate to their children and grandchildren.

I know from now on I will focus on sponsoring children here through school. Education is the best gift you can give anyone, and it will truly change Africa forever.

Today I was surrounded by about 20 precious little primary school kids dressed in ragged uniforms, but singing “If You're Happy and You Know It” with all the excitement of six-year-olds in Canada. If I can't take responsibility for their future after this experience, I have a serious problem.
I love it here. Africa has my heart.

Bryna will return to Loyalist College at the end of February following her volunteer work in Uganda with Outreach to Africa.

To follow Bryna's trip to Africa, connect to her personal blog.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Loyalist PR trip to Ottawa: Recap of Day 2

The second day of our Loyalist PR student trip to Ottawa began with a visit to Parliament Hill.

Our hosts for the day were Loyalist PR alumni Lisa Kirbie, Senate Liaison and Stakeholder Relations Officer for the Office of the Leader of the Opposition and Heather Forsyth, Communications Assistant for the Senate of Canada.

After a tour of the Peace Tower and Memorial Chapel, Lisa and Heather took us to the boardroom of the Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition where we met with Leslie Church, Communications, Office of the Leader of the Opposition and David McGuinty, Member of Parliament for Ottawa South, and Official Opposition Critic for the Environment (see photo above).

Both speakers conveyed their passion for the field of politics, and left us inspired to become more effective agents for social change in our own communities.

Following our visit to the Hill, we wrapped up our trip with a skate on the Rideau Canal (the world's longest skating rink) where picture-perfect weather put the crowning touches on a truly spectacular day.

An unforgettable trip with great students, friends and future colleagues - cheers, all!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Loyalist PR trip to Ottawa: Recap of Day 1

A group of Loyalist PR students wrapped up last week with an overnight trip to Ottawa for some up-close-and-personal experiences in the field of public relations.

First stop was Scotiabank Place, home of the Ottawa Senators. There we met up with Phil Legault, Vice-President of Communications for the Ottawa Senators and Scotiabank Place.

Phil showed us around Scotiabank Place before spending some time going over writing projects submitted by Loyalist PR students. A Q&A period in the Sens press conference room rounded off the afternoon.

Of course, no trip to Scotiabank Place would be complete without actually seeing a live game (in this case the Sens vs. the Boston Bruins).

Great learning experiences and fun times made this a day to remember!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Mohawk communications officer addresses mainstream myths about Canada’s First Nations with Loyalist PR

This afternoon's Loyalist PR case study class featured a visit by Brant Bardy, Communications Officer and Director of Nation Building for the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (Tyendinaga-Mohawk Territory).

Brant’s presentation highlighted a number of mainstream misconceptions about First Nations (including what the term “First Nations” actually means).

He also provided tips for communicating with First Nations communities, and recapped recent crisis communications efforts during high-profile protests on the Tyendinaga Territory.

It was great to have you as part of our class, Brant – thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Our Miniature Earth

As Loyalist PR students focus on intercultural awareness and communication this week, the above clip reminds us all to appreciate the vast diversity of our global tribe.