When I first started my time at Arcadia University, I never thought I’d be involved with the Public Relations programs, let alone be running a Marketing and Public Relations student team for the Theatre department. Back in 2019, when I initiated my academic path as a Knight, I was an Acting major pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts. And although performing is my passion, I was a freshman eager to learn about as many subjects as possible. So I did as much as I could. I signed up for as many clubs as I could fit into my schedule, made plans for studying abroad, and took a lot of classes outside my major. I was so enthusiastic about being in college that I didn’t care about whether or not I would be exhausted. So, applying my recently gained Improv knowledge, I’d say “yes, and…” to as many opportunities I could. From Scene Study and Latin American Art History to coding my own website and learning about event management. My mom used to tell me that as a child, I was a little bit too curious. I would always ask her too many questions about everything as I was excited about understanding the world around me. I guess my college experience proved that story to be true. I was exploring as many areas as Arcadia could offer.
It was during one of these ventures that I found a new area of interest: Public Relations. After a period of taking PR classes, I figured it was something I wanted to do professionally. But the only issue was figuring out how to implement that in my academic plan. It wasn’t easy to be a double major as I was already pursuing a B.F.A. in Acting. After considering many options, I was able to create an individualized major in Public Relation and Acting. During this process of arranging my academic path, I found the internship I work at today.
Professor Kathryn Petersen was my Theatre designated academic advisor, so she has been watching me grow as a student ever since my first day at Arcadia. As Professor Petersen observed me balance my interest in PR and Theatre, she also noticed the needs the Theatre program had regarding Public Relations and Marketing. As I signed up for classes for my senior year, one of the requirements was an internship. It was then that the opportunity presented itself. Professor Petersen asked me to do something the Theatre department had never done before: A team of students focused on promoting our program through Marketing and PR.
Hence, here I am, running a Marketing and Public Relations team of students for the Theatre department. And as much as the fact that we’re pioneering this team can be scary, it’s just as thrilling. Again, because we’re pioneering this group, there are a lot of introductory steps we need to take. Even though the internship only truly started in the Fall semester, during the summer prior to it, I was able to have multiple meetings with my supervisor, Kathryn Petersen. Our goal for these meetings was to understand what our team needed to do, what our resources were, and how we could achieve our goals.
During these sessions, we were able to set some primary details. Professor Petersen already had an idea of what the Theatre needs were, so we started with that. A lot of Arcadia students aren’t aware of our program, nor of what it has to offer. Taking a moment to promote it a little bit here, the work that the department does is truthfully incredible: Every semester we present two plays for which any Arcadia student can audition for, therefore participate in. And for those productions, the department hires professional theatre artists to be involved with. That way, the students can get a full sense of what is like to be in a show for a Theatre company.
In order to get a rough idea of what we’re dealing with, during one of the first weeks of classes, my team and I created a survey to be sent out to Arcadia’s students. In this, we included questions to comprehend the basic information about the students responding (such as year and major), and questions related to the Theatre program (if they’re familiar with the department, if they know things such as non-theatre majors can audition, tickets are pay what you can and so on). As a conclusion of this survey, we confirmed that Arcadia’s community wasn’t largely aware of our Theatre and its opportunities.
Thus, our goal for the semester was to raise awareness of our Theatre program on campus. Once that was set, we were able to collectively form an action plan. One of the exciting aspects of this group is that we have students from both departments of Media and Communication and Theatre. Our unit is formed by a Marketing and PR Team Supervisor -me-, Advanced Social Media Supervisor, Social Media Assistant, Video Content Creator, Video Content Assistant, and Marketing Assistants. In total, we have nine members collectively working and brainstorming ideas on how to achieve our goal.
For me, one of the highlights of this internship was our first meeting. It took place during the Labor Day weekend, and I remember how nervous I was to run a whole meeting by myself for the first time. Because of that, I spent the weekend prior to the meeting studying all my notes from my previous PR classes. And although stressing over this was a lot, once it was time to host the meeting, I felt prepared and confident about it. Along with my team, we were able to create an action plan for the semester, focusing mainly on Social Media and advertisements around campus. We planned to create different content for each Social Media platform, as each has a distinct reached audience. For example, we found out that our Instagram followers are mainly formed by students, therefore the content there is focused on that audience. On the other hand, Facebook reaches an older audience, so the content produced for these two platforms needs to be approached differently.
Today, after having hosted a couple of group meetings and having more experience in running the Marketing and Public Relations team, I feel extremely proud of the work I’ve done so far. We’ve been following the steps of our action plan and soon is the Opening Night of our first production, Into the Woods directed by Kevin Glaccum. And even as I look back at my freshman year schedule and wonder how did I ever take that many classes, I wouldn’t do anything differently. Exploring different areas of interest allowed me to find how to conciliate the two things I want to do professionally: Public Relations and Acting.