February 1, 2018

VSU Presents Public Relations Workshop March 2

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University will present From Crisis to Hope: Healing Orlando from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, March 2, in the University Center Magnolia Room. This workshop will examine the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, from a public relations perspective.

From Crisis to Hope: Healing Orlando will feature Heather Fagan, deputy chief of staff for Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer; Kena Lewis, director of public affairs and media relations for Orlando Health, a network of hospitals in the Orlando area; and Sara R. Brady, chief executive officer and president of Sara Brady Public Relations Inc. and public relations consultant for Pulse nightclub.

The three public relations professionals will share best practices for dealing with a high-profile tragedy based on their experiences in the aftermath of the June 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, which left 49 people dead and more than 50 injured. It is the second deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history. After the shooting, Fagan, Lewis, and Brady were tasked with accommodating national and international media crews, calming Orlando residents amidst widespread shock and sadness, and helping the city heal in the following months.

“It is a powerful story of patience, compassion, and professional expertise,” said Dr. Shirley Serini, an associate professor of public relations at VSU. “It is not only an award-winning crisis case study but also an extraordinary opportunity for our students and our community to experience a story of this magnitude.”

It is also a service learning opportunity for the members of the VSU Public Relations Student Society of America who are coordinating the event.

“We believe in the importance of hands-on experience in the Department of Communication Arts,” Serini said. “Our public relations students are learning how to plan, implement, and publicize special events. It is also an opportunity for them to work in partnership with the South Georgia Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.”

A catered lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The panel presentation, along with a question-and-answer session, will take place from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

The cost to attend From Crisis to Hope: Healing Orlando is $35. All proceeds will benefit the VSU Patterson Public Relations Student Travel Scholarship, which helps public relations students attend national conferences.

Seating is limited. To reserve a spot, visit https://community.valdostastate.org/public-relations-celebration. The deadline to register is Thursday, Feb. 22. Reservations are non-refundable. 

The University Center is located on the corner of Brookwood Drive and Patterson Street. The Magnolia Room is closest to the Brookwood Drive entrance. Parking will be available in the University Center parking lot, with overflow parking across Patterson Street.

The VSU Public Relations Student Society of America is one of more than 300 chapters nationwide for students who are interested in careers in communication and public relations. The Public Relations Program at VSU is nationally certified by the Public Relations Society of America. 

Contact Dr. Shirley Serini at (229) 333-5831 or saserini@valdosta.edu to learn more.