Looking Back On A Challenging Year

As the Arcadia community looks back on one year of being fully online, it is important to hold onto silver linings. One year ago, April 5th, 2020, students and faculty were meant to return to campus to finish out the school year in person and what we once believed would be a two-week spring break, has turned into a year of hardship as we navigate living through the pandemic. 

Looking back on this year of online schooling can be quite sad and hard to comprehend, especially after believing that we would only be online for two weeks last April. Students should know that counseling with wonderful staff is available to all and can be very beneficial to reckoning with living as a college student through a pandemic. Counseling is currently available through phone and zoom sessions; to learn more, visit this link or call 215-572-2967. And if all goes according to plan, in person sessions will be offered next semester! 

Students have been frustrated, grief-stricken, and disappointed during this past year, but they have also been incredibly resilient, hard-working, and determined. Arcadia students have displayed incredible adaptability this past year, let’s take a look at some of their accomplishments:

  • 1853 Communications, Arcadia’s student-run Public Relations firm, just completed their first ever virtual campaign in partner with Donate Life to raise awareness about organ donation. 
  • Arcadia’s theatre department proved its adaptability by putting on its first ever virtual productions which were fantastic. 
  • Seniors have been working tirelessly and are finishing up their theses online with the assistance of our dedicated faculty and they’re looking great so far.

Last year, we watched as the class of 2020 graduated with a diploma in the mail and now we are gearing up to hold smaller, department-based, commencement ceremonies on our beloved Haber Green this May. 

As the Arcadia community plans for the upcoming academic year we are so excited to see everyone back on campus and to recreate campus life in a cautious, yet fun and interactive way. As we can see, one year can change a lot! With the vaccine rolling out and “more than 500 Arcadia community members received their first COVID vaccine dose, administered on campus by Rite Aid pharmacists on April 8 in the Great Room” to students and staff, hope is definitely on the horizon. 

St. Patrick’s Day and Public Relations

Questioning Origins of St. Patrick’s Day Themes

Leprechauns, rainbows, parades, and beer are now some key factors in the modern St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. As much as we spend every March 17 blindly celebrating the holiday with these themes, have you ever stopped to think where all of these St. Patrick’s day themes came from? By looking back at the holiday’s history, one can ultimately find that public relations are the culprit for turning the originally Irish-Catholic holiday into the drunk green parades we now know and love.

Looking Back at the creation of St Patrick’s Day 

St. Patrick’s day was first recognized by the Vatican in 1631 as those in Ireland had celebrated the “religious feast day that commemorates the death of St. Patrick,” the nation’s patron saint credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland, who died in the fifth century (Arizona State University Knowledge Enterprise). “For most Irish people at home, the day remained primarily religious into the 20th century,” and did not even become “a public holiday in Ireland until 1904”.  

However, it was during this time in the 1900s that the holiday began to transform. During the 1920s – 1950s, the religious holiday was more somber with morning mass, a military parade, and closed bars. In the 1960s, the holiday began to become more exciting when celebratory parades began to replace the traditional military parades leading to the beginning of the annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival in 1966. The festival in Dublin, Ireland is more familiar to what we know now, including a “four-day event of music, treasure hunts, performances, and of course, on the day itself, a two-hour parade” that draws up to half a million people.

St. Patrick’s Day Traveling to the United States

Immigrants in the United States wanted to find a way to celebrate their pride “The first recorded celebrations of March 17 [in the United States] took place in Boston in 1737,” but it was not until 1766 when “the tradition of parading began amongst Irish Catholic members of the British Army in New York”. At the end of the civil war as more Irish immigrants came to the United States, and as the St. Patrick’s Day Festival began to surge in popularity in Ireland during the late 1960’s, Irish immigrants began to carry over their celebrations to the United States. This celebration was not only a tradition they carried from Ireland, but also a way to celebrate their culture as they were often stereotyped while in the United States. 

Public Relations Using Holiday for Profit

In the 20th century, marketing and public relations firms began to take advantage of the annual festival taking place in the United States. Companies’ event planners could plan out promotional events surrounding the annual festival. Some examples of this you might see today are parades, bar crawls, concerts, and game nights. Public relations workers took it even further and began to create season product lines involving anything that was the color green. Seasonal clothing, foods, drinks, and alcohol are all some of the ways that marketers began to use the holiday to their advantage for promotional purposes. The main marketing actions that solidify the event as a national holiday rather than a yearly festival are the greeting cards that began to become mass produced throughout the nation during March. Ultimately, the timing, unique colors, and entertaining events associated with Saint Patrick’s day on March 17 all tied perfectly together to create a joyous, cultural celebration just as the weather begins to become nicer out leading up to spring. 

The Strength of the Holiday

With the help of marketers and public relations professionals, St. Patrick’s day was able to stand the test of time on a national level. Beginning in the 1600s and a quiet religious holiday, festivals and marketers have transformed the holiday into the entertaining and joyous holiday we all know today. Although the original intent of public relations professionals may have been to profit off of the festivals, their actions lead to the continuous celebration of Ireland’s culture on a national level centuries after its origin in the 1600s.

All historical facts and statistics are outsourced from the “TIME” article “How America Invented St. Patrick’s Day” written by Zócalo Public Square on March 15, 2015. Zócalo Public Square is a magazine of ideas from Arizona State University Knowledge Enterprise.

Source link: https://time.com/3744055/america-invented-st-patricks-day/

Black Female Pioneers of Yesterday and Today

Inez Kaiser
Inez Kaiser was born in a time where race kept her from fulfilling her need for higher education. Held back due to racial exclusion, Kaiser found solace in Pittsburg State University and studied education. Determined to expand her knowledge, she later earned a master’s degree from Columbia University and an honorary doctorate from Lincoln University. Kaiser led a
twenty-year teaching career in home economics while simultaneously publishing her column “Fashion-Wise and Otherwise” in black-owned newspapers spanning the United States. After an editor suggested she venture into unknown territory, Public Relations, Inez quickly took a liking
to the field and a few years later, birthed Inez Kaiser & Associates, the first African American female-owned public relations firm in the United States and the first black-owned business in Kansas City, Missouri. The firm found great success acquiring big-name clients such as 7Up, Sterling Drugs, and Sears. What seemed to be a risky career change led Inez down an exciting
and adventurous path. In her lifetime Kaiser became the first African- American woman to join the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the first black women to join the Public Relations Society of America, a National Minority Advocate of the Year (1997), and a trusted
political advisor for minority women and business during the Nixon and Ford’s Presidential era. Laid to rest in 2016, at the age of 98, Inez Kaiser spent her life dismantling gender and racial barriers, cementing herself in history as an entrepreneur and civic leader.
Nepherterra Best
After working on a government affairs team and landing large accounts only to watch her supervisors land the check, Nepherterra wanted to reap the rewards of her hard work and build a name for herself. Award-winning PR professional and serial entrepreneur Nepherterra Best draws strength from her predecessors in her passion project, Dope Boss Mom Blog, and three successful businesses Pride Public Relations, Mosaic Communications, and NewsReleaseNow. Serving as the Chief Communications Officer and Co-Founder of Pride Public Relations, she and her partner have built the company into an award-winning African American women-owned PR
firm in Charlotte, North Carolina. Best’s primary goal is to expand her current companies to their fullest potential; it’s possible she’ll follow in Kaiser’s steps, one day returning to her political roots advocating on behalf of minority women and businesses. Although Best may seem settled
in her career path, this is just the beginning of her legacy. Leaders such as Inez Kaiser paved the way for black female entrepreneurs in 2021. Today’s entrepreneurs such as Nepherterra Best are continuing to make strides in the business community to make it more inclusive and welcoming towards black women. These two women and thousands of others like them are people who used their “limitations” to their advantage and battled against racism and sexism to create their unique paths and forever fasten themselves in history.

6 Tips For Staying Focused In A Zoom Meeting

Due to the ongoing pandemic this year many businesses and schools have switched over to virtual means of meetings and learning. This means for many people that they have to combine their work and home lives into one, which can be very challenging. During this working from home situation, it is important to stay focused and aware of what is going on in your meetings without the distractions of your personal life coming through. Here are some tips to help you stay focused and successful during Zoom meetings or Zoom class.

Isolate yourself

Seeing real people can be far more interesting than watching people on your screen, however that makes them much more likely to be a distraction. Try sitting in a quiet room away from any family members, roommates or others that could potentially take your attention away from your meeting. If you are in a loud setting maybe consider getting noise canceling headphones to block out any unnecessary noise.

Eliminate small distractions

Simply muting your cell phone or turning off the T.V. can make a big difference in how often you are looking away from your meeting. Fighting the urge to fall asleep can also be a distraction during a meeting, so taking the time to get out of bed and into a desk can help to focus on the task at hand.

Take notes

Have a notepad and pen on hand! Whether your meeting is school or job related, taking notes can help you stay focused on what is being discussed during the meeting. Taking brief notes about your zoom meeting can help refresh your memory after the zoom call is finished as well!

Prepare your work space

Take the time to prepare your workspace with everything you need before your meeting begins. This can prevent you from having to take away time and attention from your zoom meeting to grab a pen or notepad.

Be fully awake!

Wake up with plenty of time to get yourself ready for your meeting. Eating a good breakfast in the morning, or even just grabbing a coffee can help you stay focused. Also maintaining good lighting in the room you join your meeting in can help decrease the likelihood of you wanting to fall asleep or becoming drowsy on Zoom.

Take breaks

Many people are now experiencing what is called ‘Zoom Fatigue’, which comes with excessive amounts of staring at a screen. To combat this you should take breaks in between meetings and either take a walk, stretch or just relax. Give yourself time to switch between meetings and topics

Halloween

Halloween is an annual festivity where people of all ages are free to play pranks, wear outrageous costumes, and eat their weight in candy. Unfortunately, the holiday is the latest victim of the Corona Virus. The pandemic has restricted large gatherings of people, subsequently canceling haunted houses, costume parties, and trick or treating. The threat of COVID-19 has encouraged candy companies to instill more creative marketing campaigns this season.

Hershey’s is responsible for creating many of our favorite childhood candies, and now they’ve made it their mission to save Halloween. They’ve enlisted help from the Halloween Costume Association and the Harvard Global Health Institute to build a website where users can access a geographical map. The map measures the risk of covid in each state and its counties. The risk level corresponds with a chart that details alternate methods of celebration. To help maintain the tradition of knocking on doors while simultaneously respecting safety guidelines, Hershey has installed Reese’s doors in select locations where trick or treaters can knock and retrieve candy from its mail slot.

Mars Wrigley prepares for the Halloween season two years in advance, but the pandemic shattered their carefully devised marketing plan. They needed to work quickly to create a new tactic around the unprecedented phenomenon. Instead of hosting their usual festivities, Mars has created “Treat Town;” a free app providing a virtual Trick or Treat experience where users can obtain credits redeemable for real candy.

Big box companies have managed to quickly adapt to a new version of the spooky season, but what about families or small businesses that do not have access to millions of dollars? What about older groups who had high hopes for a Halloween party?

Families wanting to be extra careful have resorted to a trick or treat at home, transforming their bedroom doors into different themed rooms for their children. Communities have taken advice from the Easter bunny and transformed their neighborhoods into a spooky wonderland complete with a candy scavenger hunt.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much maneuvering around CDC guidelines regarding hosting a Halloween bash. A small gathering themed around mask oriented characters are ideal, but party alternatives exist for celebrators wanting to stay extra safe this holiday season.

The Rainforest Car Wash in Medina, Ohio, has transformed a usually mundane errand into an excitingly haunting experience where guests enjoy candy and screams. Carwashes around the country have followed suit forming an irresistible trend. For those who reminisce in haunted houses, Drive-thru haunted houses have become an exciting new activity. Their owners have displayed real talent in prop making and acting talent, assuring the same if not, better quality than pre-social distance times. Drive-in movies are a revived outing appealing to those who aren’t fond of jump scare attractions. Great for a small group of friends to relax and those who can’t remember their last visit to a movie theater!

Although Halloween will be very different than previous years. To ensure Halloween 2020 will be equally as fun as past celebrations and twice as safe, businesses and families have banded together with limited resources to create new seasonal traditions that many will look forward to long after Corona. When life returns to normal, we will recall their creativity and effort with gratitude.

Reflection

I remember registering for classes last year and being so excited to take the Arcadia offered practicum for Public Relations. It was recommended to me by my advisor, and teacher of the practicum, seeing as I am a Media and Communications major with a concentration in Public Relations. I had started to second guess my ability to be a PR professional and being given the chance to start the very first student run PR firm at Arcadia was exactly what I needed.  I was ecstatic to be able to experience what its like to work professionally in the Public Relations realm, before I started my internship. The weeks we spent still at school working hard on the Donate Life campaign was some of the most enjoyable and rewarding times I have ever had in class at Arcadia. Right before we left for spring vacation we began to plan and work on our projects to promote Donate Life.  Even with the COVID-19 crisis looming over our heads, we split up times and responsibilities for the exciting events we had planned. I was ready and excited to help run the events and activities we had planned for the campaign but unfortunately I never got to.

Once we started our spring break, the pandemic began to spread rapidly. Only halfway through the week of our spring break did we receive an email telling us the rest of the semester would be online only. While it was good to know how much our university cared about our health and safety, I was devastated to realize that meant the end to our Donate Life campaign. The few weeks I was able to spend with my 1853 Communications classmates were amazing and I am so sad that those few weeks were the only ones we would get. I enjoyed my short amount of time in this practicum so much that I registered for it again for this fall semester. I take pride in being one of the founding members of 1853 Communications and having the opportunity to create our name, website and goals. I am excited to spend next fall doing what we prepared to do this semester and I hope nothing gets in our way this time.

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