PRSSA National Assembly: Making Connections, Establishing New Bonds in the Emerald City

In late March and early April, I was in Seattle for what would be my first and only PRSSA National Assembly that I would be able to attend.

While I was there, I discovered how wonderful it is to be involved in public relations as well as to meet fellow PR students from across the nation who are all as dedicated and passionate about going into this field. (Previous post about the highlights of National Assembly itself)

Me along with Emma Osterkamp and our proud delegate, Katie Stolting

I served as a non-delegate for the Cal State Fullerton PRSSA chapter along with junior and chapter president-elect for next year, Emma Osterkamp. Sophomore Katie Stolting served as our proud delegate, one of 108 delegates from chapters across the nation voting on bylaw amendments and National Committee board members.

All three of us also served as National Assembly reporters, tasked with live-tweeting during certain sessions as well as taking photos and videos for use by PRSSA National.

While National Assembly served an important purpose for students to decide on the future of PRSSA as well as learn valuable strategies and lessons vital for chapter development, it was establishing new bonds and making connections with people across the nation that really had a greater impact.

PRSSA National Committee Vice President of Regional Activities Rachel Sprung caught a fish in the famous fish toss at the Pike Place Market

On the Friday afternoon of the trip, I went out to lunch with members of the PRSSA National Committee at Pike Place Market, located down the street from the hotel we were all staying at. We ate at a seafood restaurant located within the market. During that time, I also had a chance to chat with some of them about what their career goals are and why they chose to pursue a career in the field of public relations. Afterwards, we walked around the market, checking out all of the shops as well as the vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood and so forth. There was an interesting moment where the Vice President of Regional Activities Rachel Sprung (pictured above) caught a fish being tossed by one of the vendors that’s known for typically doing so with visitors at the market.

The original Starbucks location

We later went across the street to the very first Starbucks location. It really maintains its original form with the classic logo on the signage and merchandise and a very cozy interior. During that time, I finally met Lauren Gray, now vice president-elect of public relations for the national committee. We had already known each other through Twitter since last summer but I missed the opportunity to meet her in person at National Conference in Washington, D.C. last October. I stumbled upon her as she was with another group and we had a very cordial encounter while we were both there.

PRSSA Winslow group

Later that night, I hung out with a different group of people, eventually named PRSSA Winslow. Named after a street in the Bainbridge Island during our excursion via ferry on the Saturday night of the trip, this group consisting of students from California to Pennsylvania all came together with the initial intent of exploring the city.

The group members consisted of the three of us from Cal State Fullerton along with Adam Merkel of Ball State in Indiana, Zane Riley of Southeast Missouri State, Elisha Garcia and LaShae Green of Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, Rachel Rees of Virginia Tech, Stephanie Shim of Cal Poly Pomona, David Jolly of Ohio Dominican University and Brian de Pasqua of Illinois State University.

As a group, our first excursion was at the Seattle Space Needle via the Seattle Monorail on Friday night. We went way up top and had a really good view of the entire city skyline at night despite the usually cold and rainy conditions.


Me with Robin and Delanie from SDSU

After our visit to the Space Needle, I broke off from the group to meet with two of my good friends from San Diego State University, Robin Canedy and Delanie Billman, to go find a sushi bar in Downtown Seattle. We found a place called Umi Sake House where despite the 45-minute wait to be seated, the food was undoubtedly the best.

A sushi roll from Umi Sake House in Downtown Seattle

The three of us tried three different types of sushi rolls at the Umi Sake House. None of us had any drinks as I do not drink but I was willing to try one if we did. The sushi rolls were absolutely delicious, satisfying our appetite for something fancy and wholesome.

On Saturday night, PRSSA Winslow was back in action, this time taking a ferry to Bainbridge Island. Once we arrived on the island, we walked around the island to find the closest restaurant we could find. We eventually found a place called 122 Winslow, a small family-owned restaurant that also hosted dance and

PRSSA Winslow at the 122 Winslow restaurant in Bainbridge Island

karaoke nights. We happened to be there on a night when they were hosting a dance party with a live DJ. The food there was delicious and most of us, not including myself, later joined in on the fun in the dance floor.

The next day, also our last day in Seattle, PRSSA Winslow got together again for one last time before we all headed back to the airport to catch our flights back home. Per the recommendation of my boss at OCTA, Ted Nguyen, we tried the Wild

PRSSA Winslow at Wild Ginger restaurant in Seattle

Ginger Restaurant in Downtown Seattle. This restaurant serves up a diverse array of Asian cuisine and is actually a family-owned and run restaurant of a Jewish family. I had the Mandarin Chicken dish with rice and vegetables, which was very delicious. After lunch, we visited the Pike Place Market for one last time, stopping by the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and the famous alley with chewing gum covering a brick wall. The final place we visited

The gumwall in an alley near Pike Place Market

happened to be Cow Chip Cookies, a small but really good cookie shop. I purchased some chocolate chip cookies to take home including a freshly-baked cookie which I ate on the spot.

From that point on, PRSSA Winslow went our different ways but not without forming a friendship that is bound to last for the foreseeable future. During the course of a  single weekend,

Yours truly on the Sound Transit Central Link light rail in Seattle

a group of complete strangers from across the country came together to form this bond that consists of people who possess some very unique characteristics. While I was on the Sound Transit Central Link light rail en route back to the airport, which I very much enjoyed riding, I thought about how remarkable it was to be a part of that group and despite living hundreds or even thousands of miles apart, we can still keep in close contact with each other and continue to be there for each other.

National Assembly was not only the time and place for us learn important lessons and make important decisions but it was also a time to make new connections and establish new bonds. Making those human connections made me realize how important it is to also maintain human connections, both personally and professionally.