A professional event: PRSSN members step out to ‘meet the professionals’

From left to right: Jeff and Bill Paterson talk shop, and Mike Freedman offers some professional insight to PRSSN president, Jennifer Gallo.

Niagara University’s Public Relations Student Society (PRSSN), hosted their first ever communications and marketing “Meet the PRofessionals Night” on April 5. Thirteen professionals attended to speak with students about their careers, give advice, and offer connections to jump-start their future.

“This event is a great opportunity to get students out of their comfort zone by networking with professionals,” said Jennifer Gallo, the president of PRSSN. “These connections could really help them in the future.”

meet 2Students and professors mingle with the professionals. (From left to right: Samantha Martineau, Dominic Hannon, Joseph M. Sirianni, Lana Perlman, and Angela Berti)

Many of the students and PRSSN club members were there to mingle with the professionals and get their name out there, including a freshman student named Michael Pearl, who came prepared with his own résumé and business cards.

“I really learned a lot tonight about careers in PR [public relations] and marketing, especially PR,” said Pearl. “I got to meet people who I didn’t even know had jobs in the area.”

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Despite the professional nature of the event, students still took some time to enjoy the food and relax for a bit! (From left to right: Britini D’Angelo, David Yarger, Michael Pearl, Gabi Jackson)

Pearl met with Dan Aikin, director of communications and special events for Senator Ranzenhofer. Pearl intends to apply for an internship to work with Aikin, just as many of the other students are planning, now that they have this new opportunity. Matt Vizzi, a communication studies major, took advantage of a unique opportunity offered by Allison Boynton of the Seneca Niagara Casino to be a model for an upcoming advertising campaign.

But, the professionals had more to offer than just potential internships and gigs. They also gave helpful advice.

Brook D’Angelo, the mastermind behind the “Totes McGoats” mascot for Niagara Falls’ Solid Waste Education and Enforcement Team (S.W.E.E.T), said professionals in the field should be able to roll with whatever happens, be willing to work for free, don’t be afraid to badger people for a response and network, network, network.

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Many of the other professionals had similar advice, offering tips such as don’t be shy, do what you have a passion in, work hard, and try to get as much experience as you can. This guidance was surely taken to heart by all who attended.

The event was a huge success with a great turn out.  Dr. Joseph Sirianni, communication studies assistant professor and PRSSN advisor, and Michael Freedman, the associate public relations director for Niagara University and PRSSN advisor, both had a big part in making the event happen by utilizing their resources to ask the professionals to come to the event.

“It looked like it was a very successful night and it looked like everyone was engaged,” Sirianni said after the event. “Overall it went really well, and I look forward to holding it again next year!”

-Article by Jade King, Photos by Emily Kernin, PRSSN



Meet the PRofessionals Night 2016

PRSSN held its first annual “Meet the PRofessionals Night” on Tuesday, April 6,  in Niagara University’s Bisgrove Hall. Students were able to network with local agencies, including Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, Empower, and Fisher Price.

Thanks to all who came out and made the night a success!

View the entire album here!

-Photos by Emily Kernin, PRSSN

“To Write Love on Her Arms” table talk inspires Niagara University students


Dedication. Acceptance. Loving. Encouragement. Inspiring. Supportive. These are all words that describe To Write Love on Her Arms, a club at Niagara University.

On March 15, 2016, To Write Love on Her Arms held a table talk at lower level Gallagher Hall from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m as part of National Women’s History Month.

To Write Love on Her Arms is a nonprofit movement whose purpose is to present hope and help people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.

“Our mission is to break the stigma of mental health and to educate people on mental health issues,” said Sabrina Swortz, a sophomore at Niagara University.

Swortz explained that the purpose of the table talk was to send positive body image messages to students at Niagara.

“We are sending these positive body image messages both through our photo frames and our dear body letters to yourself,” she said. “We want to encourage people to like and accept themselves for who they are.”

Allison Jenne, a sophomore at Niagara University, loves being a part of the club. She explained that all of the members are really supportive and she always has someone to turn to when she is having a rough day.

“In the club, members are encouraged to be open about their feelings and how they feel about themselves,” she explained. “People are able to come into our meetings and be open with other people who are willing to listen and will not judge.”

For more information on this club, please contact Holly Kaiser at hkaiser@mail.niagara.edu. The club meets Thursday nights at 8:30 p.m. in St. Vincent’s Hall room 109.

-Britini D’Angelo, PRSSN

PRSSN teams up with the Women’s Study Committee

To assist in promoting Women’s National History Month, PRSSN teamed up with NU’s Women’s Study Committee. This celebration of women’s contributions to society includes a table talk with the national organization, To Write Love on Her Arms; a special talk with storyteller Laura Packer on the life of Sojourner Truth; and a panel talk with NU’s female math and science students and instructors.

The events of NU’s Women’s National History Month celebration take place all week. We encourage all faculty, students, and staff to attend!  For more information on the events, see our poster below!

Women s National History Month-page-001

-Poster design by Gabi Jackson and Dominic Hannon

PRSSN Gets Into the Spirit of Giving with the Adopt-a-Family Program

Christmas is traditionally perceived to be a time filled with family, love and joy. On Christmas morning, children everywhere wake up with wide eyes and excited hearts. They run out of their rooms, wake up their families, and rush downstairs to bountiful amounts of presents under a decorated Christmas tree. Parents joyously watch as their little ones unwrap their presents from Santa and then spend the day playing with their new toys. It’s a perfect Christmas day.

But unfortunately, not every family gets to experience a Christmas like that.

Census figures released in 2013 found that 46.5 million American families are currently living in poverty in the United States. These families struggle to pay for their bills and for their basic life necessities, and around the holidays they add presents to the list of things they struggle to pay for. The reality is that some parents have no way of affording gifts for their children, and some kids will wake up on Christmas morning to no presents under the tree and nothing in their stockings.

Luckily, Christmas is also a time filled with generosity and giving, and thanks to a special program in the Niagara Falls area, some families living in poverty will be able to have the Christmas that everyone deserves.

A client poses with gifts received through the Adopt-a-Family Program. Photo: Summit Life

This special program is called the Adopt-A-Family program and PRSSN was more than willing to participate in it during this holiday season.  Adopt-A-Family is a program run by Summit Life Center, a non-profit organization located in Niagara Falls that dedicates themselves to educating and supporting women in the case of an unexpected pregnancy.

Here’s how the program works: all of the families involved in the Adopt-A-Family program are also enrolled in the Earn While You Learn program. This program rewards parents with gently used clothes, toys, and necessities for learning essential parenting lessons through educational videos and worksheets. The parents involved in the Adopt-A-Family program are often the victims of poverty and the program ensures that they have a happy holiday.

“It really is such a blessing to the families,” said Barb Bidak, the executive director of the summit life center. “We know these mothers. We know their struggles and we know what they need. This program makes it possible for them to provide their kids with a Christmas that they deserve.”

Clothes donated by PRSSN to the Adopt-a-Family Program. Photo: Summit Life

The people that donate to the Adopt-A-Family program donate everything from brand new clothes and toys for the children to household supplies and necessities for the parents. They also typically donate wrapping paper so that the parents themselves can wrap the presents and put them under the tree for their children.

“It helps the parents to feel involved during the holiday season,” said Bidak.

The Summit Life Center has been running since 2005, but the Adopt-A-Family program is fairly new. The program started in 2013 and has helped a plethora of families since its opening, including over 40 families alone this holiday season.

The holiday season is a time for family, love, and joy. The Summit Life Center’s Adopt-A-Family program makes a special holiday possible for many families in the Niagara Falls area. Donating to the Adopt-A-Family program gives one more family the perfect Christmas that they deserve.

Alecia Lutrario, PRSSN 

Niagara University Student Protest to Be Heard

NIAGARA FALLS, NY– “No Justice, No Peace! No Justice, No Peace!”

This is one of the chants that could be heard echoing across the campus of Niagara University from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 16 when 58 students came together to protest racial inequality and discrimination.

Students peeked out of classrooms and dorm rooms to see the protestors clothed in all black, sporting signs declaring their need for equality and representation marching throughout campus.

“We feel like we have not had justice in the school and if we are not having justice we are not going to be peaceful,” said Isis Kay, a student of Niagara University. “We are going to make sure you hear us.”


The student rally roused the entire campus from outside of Alumni Chapel to the Library to Dunleavy to Lower Level Gallagher, stopping at Clet, St. Vincent’s, Golisano, and Castellani, all prominent halls on their way. From the morning to the afternoon, the students walked through the halls holding classrooms full of students and teachers to demonstrate how passionate they are about this issue.

In Lower Level Gallagher, the most common place on campus for NU students to congregate in between classes, students belonging to the protest and non-protesters gathered to hear testimonials and statements on why the protest was happening.

“I’m tired of being 6’2’’, 220 pounds and feel the need to shrink myself down to the size I was when I was five, whenever I walk out of my varsity village house simply to make sure that I don’t make anyone uncomfortable whenever they walk past me,” Zaire James, a senior at Niagara, expressed into a megaphone.


Other testimonials, such as proclaiming that the attendees and faculty of NU have an inability to give the time and patience to correctly say the names of their peers and students or racist comments that are said and covered up with “it was a joke” or “he was drunk”, still hurt feelings. As James had noted, “Drunken words are sober thoughts.”

Contrary to prior belief, the protest was not affiliated with the Black Student Union. It just happened that a prevalent number of students were members of the club. But although the demonstration was not associated with any clubs on campus, it was a student run movement.

The main goal of the protest was to bring attention to certain issues that needed to be brought to light. Kay explained in a hoarse voice after a long day of chanting and speaking that the purpose of the demonstration was to encourage the school to create a black studies program, be a part of the hiring process for the professor and to diversify the administration at Niagara.

protest 1
Photo/Catherine Moynihan


Eric Rigg, one of the spokesmen for the event, explicated that there is about one minority professor in each department and 1 out of 10 professors are of an ethnic descent.

Rigg also mentioned tha,t as they were walking by the student resident halls, someone threw water at them and as they were going through the halls, people and professors were yelling at them.

“It’s something that we receive on a daily basis,” admitted Rigg, “And it kind of showed the light that needed to be shown on these instances of hellish activity that is going around campus.”

Several faculty members and professors came to support or listen to the remonstration. One particular communications professor, Doug Tewksbury, cancelled class in support of the protesting students.

“This is about the students, not the faculty,” admitted Tewksbury. “This is a student run movement; we are supporters but we don’t belong to the movement.”

As a response to the demonstration, the NU administration scheduled a “NU Talks Back” as a more organized, calm way to sort out the issue at hand. Several members of the protest came to back up their demonstration from the previous day and explain misconceptions that anyone might have had.

The action items that students came up with to battle racism on campus are to have more awareness and implement awareness campaigns. These would have the goal to destroy the ignorance that some people may have about other races.


The protestors also wanted to make sure that everyone knows that everyone is welcome, no race is excluded and if anyone feels discriminated against they are welcome to join the other students and help make a difference.

“Yes, this is a pro-black movement currently,” Rigg explained. “But all cultures are feeling the same way as well, that’s why they came and supported us, every color, every religion is more than welcome to help us in our cause.”

Changes are being made though. Father Maher has been having monthly meetings with students and faculty about getting more diverse faculty and implementing an African studies program. Another major point being covered is community engagement and how to utilize community service as a tool to teach students about other races and combat the ignorance that is being spread. Next semester they are planning to further discuss this matter and apply the changes that have been conferred.

Changes are being made and that encourages a bright future for the students of Niagara University.

-Article and featured photo by Jade King, photos by Dominic Hannon, PRSSN