September 20, 2018 | ° F

Society hosts competition to raise funds for charity

Photo by Karl Hoempler |

Dylan Storms, a School of Engineering sophomore, left, and Kris Johnson, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, winners of the event, competed for charities such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation last night in the PRSSA “Minute to Win It” competition. The winners received Barnes & Noble Nook e-readers.

An air of competition clouded the annex of the College Avenue Gymnasium last night as students prepared to compete in the Public Relations Student Society of America’s second annual charity “Minute to Win It” competition, based off the hit NBC show of the same name.

Omer Saleh, vice president of media relations for PRSSA, said they plan to send a portion of the money to the club’s sister organization, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The winners of the competition received brand new Barnes and Noble Nook e-readers.

The University’s chapter of PRSSA, a national pre-professional organization, was created in 1980 by University public relations pioneer Todd Hunt, professor emeritus of the School of Communication and Information.

Since then, the club has grown to provide internships, career fairs and networking opportunities with professionals, said Club President Sean Barrie.

“[The] event is just a nice way to relax and play silly games. It’s double-edged sword, help out a great club and help out the community. … PRSSA is huge to us, since Rutgers has no curriculum [for Public Relations],” said Barrie, a School of Arts and Sciences junior.

Although the University does not currently offer a public relations major, it recently added a public relations specialization, which Barrie thinks will help lead to a minor and eventually a major.

The specialization will give students the chance to take more specialized classes in the field of public relations and allows the students to graduate with more than a general degree in communication.

Barrie said Jack Grasso, the PRSSA advisor since 1990 and professor in the School of Communication and Information, has been instrumental in helping students find connections in the real world of public relations in the absence of University support.

Six of the teams came prepared in matching T-shirts with intimidating team names such as “The Admirals” and the defending champions, “Team Repeat.”

Jackie Navarra, a School of Management and Labor Relations junior, came to the event early with her partner.

“The competition looks weak, they didn’t even show up on time,” she said.

Each team competed in eight 60-second events that tested the competitors’ hand eye coordination, dexterity and patience.

Some games were easier than others, such as “Separation Anxiety,” a challenge in which the teams competed in separating a pool of M&M’s by color.

In another game, “Defy Gravity,” competitors juggled three balloons in the air for the allotted time, but no team could successfully finish, said competitor Sylvia Meredith.

“It was a tricky task, and it was unexpected,” said Meredith, a School of Arts and Sciences junior. “Something so simple wound up being so complicated”    

“Team Repeat,” who was in last place for the majority of the competition, did not give up easily.

“We really do hope to bounce back. I mean, we’re not called Team Repeat for nothing,” Saleh said.

The event brought out game show fans and committed competitors who were not only interested in winning but also in supporting PRSSA.

The club also raised money for JDRF by raffling gift baskets. The gift baskets included a gift certificate for a nail salon and spa, eye shadow, lipstick and other beauty products.

At the end, “The Admirals,” consisting of Kris Johnson, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, and Dylan Storms, a School of Engineering sophomore, won the grand prize and bragging rights for the next year.

While competition fueled the event, Meredith admitted that she enjoyed having fun with her fellow club members.

“Many people who are in it are in the organization as well, so it’s all in good fun,” she said.

By Ijeoma Unachukwu

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