Lindsey + Asp is more than an intersection of two of the busiest streets in Norman, Oklahoma; it is more than a new wing of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications; Lindsey +Asp Public Relations and Advertising Agency is where I knew I needed to be. As a transfer student from a community college, I was really looking for something to differentiate myself from the rest of the PR students across the globe. A degree in public relations, I have found, means little without experience to back it up. Being in the agency has opened my eyes to the many new areas of public relations I had yet to explore, and has given me the opportunity to meet professionals from across the nation.
Nowhere can you get more hands-on experience than in an agency that is run by you and your peers. It is a great way to meet new people with similar aspirations and to learn from others. Agencies also provide a wide array of clients in different industries, which is helpful for students who are unsure of what area of public relations they are most passionate about.
There are also opportunities for growth in an agency. At the University of Oklahoma our agency is structured so that we have a leadership council of members who decide on new clients and organized teams for the different accounts. I am now a member of the leadership council and a PR account lead. Working at the agency has been a very rewarding experience and has taught me the benefits of hard work.
At this year’s agency “Gear-Up” retreat, we had the opportunity to listen to advice from some very influential professionals. I was listening and tweeting tidbits of valuable information for my fellow PR students, when I heard the speaker say something that is very important for young professionals to remember, “You can never be downgraded for knowing too much.” This statement came from Dave Tutin, a writer and experienced advertising professional. He went on to talk about how experience is invaluable for students. Internships provide guided experience, but at a student-run agency, you are encouraged to make important decisions and design your own projects. In my interviews for internships, I am always asked about my responsibilities at L+A and the different clients I support. Even at my current internship, my employer will ask how it is going and what I am currently working on. Working at a student-run agency really stands out on a resume and is a great conversation starter when networking with professionals.
Not only has working at a student-run agency given me valuable experience, it has also heightened my passion for public relations. This is a field in which you learn something new everyday, and I thank the agency for opening my eyes to the many opportunities in the PR field.
Erin Jacobs is a PR major at the University of Oklahoma. She is a PR account lead at the university’s on-campus PR and ad agency, Lindsey + Asp. I met Erin and her student-agency colleagues during a recent visit to Norman to speak at the L+A agency retreat and tour the impressive Gaylord facility.