Unifying the University one step at a time


Deep in the corners of the Gallagher Center, are an array of offices that offer amazing opportunities for students, faculty, and staff. This is exceptionally true for one office. This office –  the Office of Multi-Cultural Affairs (OMA) –  and the woman in charge – Averl Harbin –  are making enormous changes throughout Niagara University. Harbin, also known as “Boss Lady,” is the catalyst behind some of the biggest events and activities on campus.

As the Director of Multi-Cultural Affairs, Harbin is responsible for the daily operations of the office that include — but are not limited to — the creation, facilitation, and assessment of educational and co-curricular activities which promote a multicultural learning community. To Harbin, multiculturalism is the interdisciplinary company and support of different ethnicities and cultures in society.

“We want to allow students the opportunity to learn about cultures unlike their own,” Harbin says. “With respect to their own cultures, it should be something that students, faculty and administration are willing to participate in.”

Before she worked at NU, Harbin participated on several committees at SUNY Fredonia including the Affirmative Action Committee, the Student Diversity Committee, and the Keeper of the Dream Scholarship Committee, in addition to many more.

“My work ethic has not changed that much,” she says enthusiastically. “It was a bigger school, but here, I’m able to challenge myself and students who may be interested in discovering different backgrounds.”

Harbin has taken a leadership role in many campus-wide events, including MLK week, Hispanic and Black heritage celebrations, organizing an NU fashion show, as well as bringing the great Dr. Bernice King to speak on campus. She mentions that these events and activities are designed to advance campus engagement around diversity to ensure that the voice of students from diverse backgrounds are heard.

Harbin actively encourages students to get involved on campus with the office by participating and planning events. She encourages students to reach outside of their comfort zone by performing and sharing their talents. She also hopes to educate students, faculty and staff about different cultures and ethnicities throughout the Niagara University campus. Harbin is dedicated to creating an inclusive atmosphere at this university, and will continue to do so in the coming years.

In the span of 2 short years, Harbin has changed the cultural atmosphere of Niagara for the better. At a time when the country continues to face hardships and divisiveness, Harbin is determined to bring awareness to people of all different backgrounds and cultures.

“We have a lot more planned for this year,” Harbin says. “There’s also a lot in store for the next year that I not only hope educates people, but will also bring people together at this university.”

Article and photo by Gabi Jackson – PRSSN


PRSSN president honored with prestigious scholarship award

Dr. Joseph M. Sirianni and award recipient, Jennifer Gallo.

On Wednesday, Nov. 16, PRSSN President Jennifer Gallo was honored with the May C. Randazzo Memorial Scholarship Award at the PRSA Buffalo-Niagara Annual Meeting Celebration. The award recognizes an undergraduate student who has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the field of public relations.

Taking the podium to present the award, Dr. Joseph M. Sirianni – Gallo’s academic advisor and PRSSN co-advisor – made note of Gallo’s achievement in leadership, scholarship and community service.

Gallo expressed her gratitude for receiving the award and thanked Sirianni, her parents, and the May C. Randazzo Memorial Scholarship committee for honoring her.

May C. Randazzo served as the public relations manager at Graphic Controls and helped form the PRSSA chapter at Canisius College before she died after a brief illness in 1997 at the age of 57. The May C. Randazzo Memorial Scholarship was established in her honor to award college students who best demonstrated the values that Randazzo believed were key aspects to a successful career in public relations.

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



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 sends some holiday cheer


Members of PRSSN took the time out of their busy exam schedules to fulfill the Christmas wishes of an 8-year-old girl. In 2013, Safyre Terry was badly burned in a house fire that killed both her father and three siblings. Safyre’s aunt Liz Dodler, who now has custody of Safyre, said Safyre’s wish this year was to fill up a metal Christmas tree card holder that was purchased at a thrift store. Her wish was shared on Facebook by a family friend and according to the Today Show, has since been viewed and shared by thousands of people. PRSSN hopes our cards will continue to make Safyre’s Christmas merry and bright!