By Liz Calvo
Barry’s chapter of the Florida Public Representative Association (FPRA) is a new organization that helps give students a jumpstart on their public relations skills and will be the first of its kind in South Florida.
Founded in 1938, the FPRA aims to promote and enhance the public relations profession and to collaborate with anyone who wishes to do the same. Although the chapter aims to promote the profession, anyone is welcome to join.
The university started the discussion of joining the organization last August. Barry’s FPRA is advised by Mariely Llopis, assistant professor of communications.
“When you have a PR program and you are teaching students how to behave in the professional world, what would be more needed than an organization that will provide a space to exercise their PR skills?” said Llopis.
The FPRA is bringing that space to Barry’s campus. Being the strongest and oldest chapter of the National Public Representative Association (NPRA), it’s located in many parts of Florida, including Tampa, Orlando, and Sarasota.
“The Florida Public Relations Association has reached 15 chapters and 12 student chapters all throughout the state,” said Maria Bolivar Gomez, Barry’s FPRA assistant president, aiming to further educate students on the history of FPRA.
Gomez explains that this is an opportunity for individual growth as well as for careers.
Because of this, communication majors will have a direct role in the FPRA chapter, which aims to promote student leadership, organization, and networking.
Barry’s FPRA president, Kennedy Faña, agrees.
"FPRA is meant to engage students in the communication department to get engaged around campus,” said Faña. “The organization offers students a variety of resources during their active years in the chapter, as well as after they graduate.”
Sarah Ruiz, the assistant secretary, believes that organization allows her to fully immerse and network within the major of PR.
“I have met people with great insights and ideas for an upcoming project we are working on,” she said.
In addition, students will propose ideas for events at Barry to promote social change. With this, the FPRA pushes forward Barry’s mission statement of having leaders in the social justice world.
FPRA chapter meetings are held on Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m. in the Garner Hall conference room.
The executive board, including Vice President Andres Azzolin, Treasurer Stephanie Fuentes, Secretary Brittany Perez, and Assistant Treasurer Nicole Valdes, will be in attendance.
“Our executive board meets to plan and coordinate our upcoming events,” said Faña. “We are establishing the foundation of the chapter for years to come.”