Public relations students from the Department of Communication at Eastern Kentucky University provided media coverage for the Kentucky E³ Conference – Education and Entrepreneurship as Economic Engines – on Thursday, Nov. 19 at the EKU Center for the Arts.
The Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) and the Center for Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Technology (CEDET) partnered to host the event, which focused on getting universities and students in the region to think more entrepreneurially.
Tom Martin, previously the Senior Fellow for Research and Economic Policy at CPE, recently joined EKU as executive director of CEDET.
Housed in the EKU Business and Technology Center, CEDET provides assistance by connecting resources of EKU with the needs of communities, businesses, industries and institutions in the region. It works to create jobs, endorse the use of technology, assist community and economic development activities, encourage partnerships, support entrepreneurial development, conduct research and serve as a point of contact for information and assistance.
Martin said it is important that students are getting the hands-on opportunity to provide media coverage for the E³ Conference for both the experience and the opportunity to explore different interests.
“Anytime a student can take what they are learning in the classroom and apply it, that is great,” Martin said. “It also allows them to get a feel of where their passion is.”
Public relations students provided coverage for keynote speeches, roundtable discussions and concurrent breakout session topics of “Social Enterprise in Higher Education,” “The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, Funding & Capital” and “The Maker Revolution.”
Coverage included collecting session notes, assembling press releases, creating and posting social media content and photography to promote the event in its entirety.
Communication Instructor and EKU SOAR Liaison Melissa Newman and Associate Professor Dr. Pam Parry supervised student work during the conference.
Newman said events such as the E³ Conference offer the best possible teaching opportunities.
“Bringing public relations students to provide coverage for the E³ Conference provides a much needed service for CEDET and its goals,” Newman said. “EKU’s Department of Communication is always looking for hands-on learning opportunities for our students. This is another of those opportunities allowing students to get real work, real experience and a look inside public relations in practice."
Newman and students also provide public relations coverage each spring for the East Kentucky Leadership Conference.
The hands-on work experience that EKU PR students obtain outside of the classroom has generated conversation throughout the region. Several internships and an EKU VISTA position have been created in efforts to advance Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), East Kentucky Leadership Foundation, The Promise Zone and the Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.