Greenlee School celebrates majors, offers networking opportunities at free lunch

Caitlin Deaver

The Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication is hosting a celebration of the three majors in the school — journalism and mass communication, advertising, and the new public relations major.

The celebration will take place Friday at Hamilton Hall. It will be from noon

1:30 p.m. At 1 p.m., there will be a presentation in the Hamilton Hall atrium.

Alumni of the Greenlee School, faculty, public relations employers and benefactors, along with students, will be in attendance. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the unique networking opportunities.

“We were looking for an opportunity for our current students to mingle with some alums, as well as professionals,” said Erin Wilgenbusch, senior lecturer of journalism and communication and Public Relations Student Society of America adviser.

One of the more prominent employers in the public relations world, Weber Shandwick, will be in attendance. Barb Iverson, president of Weber Shandwick’s financial services practice and an Iowa State alumna, helped Wilgenbusch coordinate Friday’s event.

With this weekend being Homecoming, the Greenlee School wanted to have a small reunion for its alumni, embracing the celebratory feelings that come with Homecoming.

“The new [public relations] major, large enrollments rate and other accomplishments gave us every reason to celebrate Greenlee as a wonderful part of Iowa State University and that’s why this event is happening,” said Hayley Sitz, senior in public relations and president of the PRSSA chapter at Iowa State.

Wilgenbusch stated that 662 undergraduates and 45 graduates were enrolled in Greenlee by the 10th day of classes. Seventy-one of those students signed up for the public relations major back in September.

Wilgenbusch also said that the post-graduation job placement rate in Greenlee has increased, as well.

With the new major, students are more prepared to take advantage of the growth in public relations jobs.

“As the profession becomes more recognized, we’re beginning to realize public relations folks are really a strategic function of the business,” Wilgenbusch said. “The growth in the public relations field is astronomical through 2020, at least.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, there were 320,000 public relations jobs in 2010, with a 21 percent job growth rate. The median pay in 2010 for public relations managers and specialists was $57,550 per year.

The campaign for a public relations major began in August 2011; after approximately two years of paperwork and moving through the pipeline of authority, the major was approved this fall.

“[Having a public relations major] formalizes something that we’ve been doing for years,” Wilgenbusch said. “We’ve been teaching these public relations courses, but they’ve always fell under the journalism and mass communication degree.”

A free lunch of Hickory Park sandwiches will be provided for the entirety of the event and is open to the public, as well.

Greenlee, the Greenlee Advisory Council and PRSSA are sponsoring the celebration.

“Greenlee has done a lot of really great things for the journalism and communication world and this is an opportunity to celebrate that,” Sitz said. “With this new public relations major and one of Greenlee’s largest enrollments ever, we wanted to really honor the school and the people who have helped make it what it is today.”