Beau Rand
University of Louisville
University of Louisville Communications Department

 Through choosing an internship at the university I attend, I expected a degree of familiarity with a certain freshness in getting to see and work in a behind-the-scenes department that is integral in the creation of the University of Louisville's persona. While being an English major and having prior experience in the journalism field, it interested me in shifting focus from the general creation of news to collaboration in making positive news for a single group or body. However, the Office of Communications and Marketing offers simply more than a behind-the-scenes workshop in promoting the university, adding a direct experience in the development of relations within and outside UofL.

The Office of Communication and Marketing at UofL essentially shares responsibilities with other departments ranging from Information Technology to Administration. In my time here, I have worked with individuals from food service, to campus police, to top university officials, in order to promote better communications with the interior and exterior groups, but specifically students. Through presenting student concerns through a professional lens, I, along with my supervisors and co-workers, are hopefully able to improve this communicative channels. By serving as the Office's first intern, it has been a tremendous experience creating a platform by which future students holding my position may continue helping UofL forge strong connections with associates.

So far, as an intern, I have been able to improve student communications in multiple ways. I have been able to utilize my journalism skills in assisting with writing articles for university news. Through this, we have been able to highlight student, faculty, and administrative successes on UofL's homepage. Along with this, I have been able to research how our benchmark colleges and universities use social media. Through this, I was able to present my conclusions to university officials, giving ideas and recommendations on how UofL can incorporate these. With students becoming increasingly networking through social media, and many other schools employing their social organization possibilities, the impact of my research has provided unique insight onto how to properly utilize and maintain an account on these online networks.

    Over the course of my internship, I have also aimed for larger projects, such as meeting with university officials, food service officials, and information technology employees to hopefully install a web cam network, intended for students to be able to determine how long a lunch line is online. Considering that UofL recently enacted a mandatory meal plan for it's majority commuter population, campus eateries expect a large influx of new students dining on-campus in the upcoming semesters. Many commuters students, as well as residents also schedule their classes closely together to avoid long layoffs between, The proposal for a line estimate web cam feed aims to allow students and faculty to beat these expected large crowds at campus eateries, by being informed on the shortest and most convenient waits.  Along with this, I have been trained in the university's content management systems outlet, of which faculty and staff use to create and update web pages connected to louisville.edu. Through this, I have written and designed online resources for students, mainly a quick, researched-based utility that provides tips and internet services for saving gas in conjunction with daily trips to and from campus.

Each project that I have undertook revealed the constant need for idea in working in public relations. Whereas my previous jobs in staff writing and journalism for newspapers required interviewing and reporting, success in public relations is based around the construction of an idea, rather than the documentation of something. As this is my first experience working in a public relations field, I have learned to combine the ability of creating ideas for web development and have translated it into a something that is not only support by writing, but in a visual and organizational perspective. Through learning how visitors look at web pages, and considering the importance of placement, I have learned to fit ideas such as the web cam line estimate service onto a web template. Beyond understanding how writing and layout can affect public perspective via the web, we have seen how to pitch public relations and marketing ideas and present them in a promotional manner. Through meetings with university officials from different departments, we have attempted to connect with them as well as our target audiences, in order that a compromise between offices may be reached to see our ideas come into fruition.

With all of the different work that goes into making UofL's Office of Communications and Marketing what it is, it is easy to consider this internship in PR one of the more well-rounded and resource-oriented jobs I have ever held. My position requires a certain resourcefulness, exposed in researching how PR is utilized online and with various types of digital media, to developing ideas.  The job also requires a certain creativity, in establishing ideas through the internet and web-based resources available. In general, a career in the PR field calls upon an ability to not only be able to communicate well, but to have the resources and ideas to reflect what is communicated. Through this, my first public relations opportunity has allowed me to develop other skills that can assist my central goal of a career in writing. A career in public relations now, though it is not one that is based around writing, is more appealing to me now. I have discovered countless ways, through working with web marketing employees in the office, to express a creativity through resource and organization, which only contributes to creativity in the writing field. The internship at UofL's Office of Communications and Marketing has been one of the best positions I have ever held. My supervisor and co-workers have been more than friendly, helpful and supportive in all of the ideas and platforms I wish to establish for my position, and have been a large factor in the success and hopeful success of many of my projects.