The Public Relations Experience Program (PREP) kicked off the spring semester on Saturday, Jan. 20, at the Jackson Health Foundation’s 2018 Golden Angels Centennial Gala. The event was at Soho Studios, a trendy warehouse event-space in Wynwood, and featured luxury cars from The Collection, hand-rolled cigars, a red carpet complete with an elaborate backdrop, models in sequin gowns and feathered head-dresses, and feathered swings. Inside the venue, the walls were clad with luxurious red material, there was a champagne fountain centerpiece and aerial silks entertainers.

The six PREP students at the event assisted with media check-in and social media for the duration of the night. Elisabeth Hoffer, a returning PREP student, and Amanda Delgado, a first-time PREP student, managed the media check-in desk during the hustle and bustle of registration. There, they greeted members of the media, signed them in, and assigned them their table seating. Given the extensive shot list for social media, the other four PREP students split into teams to conquer it. Tayana Dix and Guanyi took images of the guests and entertainers, and Ace Soto and Evelyn Pang captured pictures of presentations and displays. In total, the PREP students gave the JHF staff more than 300 images to use for their digital (social media and website) storytelling purposes.

Pang, a returning PREP student, spent a semester abroad and was excited to jump right back into the program with her assigned task.

“I’m seeing more and more that social media promotion is key in any event, and the Jackson Memorial Gala was no different,” according to Pang. “We had to have a constant flow of photos ready to go for the Foundation’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.”

Not only does PREP give students the opportunity to gain credit hours for experiential learning, but it also gives them real-world experience that one could never gain in a classroom setting.  This, combined with the service PREP provides to the community makes this a really unique University of Miami program.

Beyond the social media and registrations, it also gives students the chance to network with professionals in their field of study, as well as getting a behind-the-scenes look at different types of events. Students in PREP build their skills each semester, gaining confidence and adding to the overall quality of their work and their abilities.

“This is our second year assisting with Jackson Health Foundation,” said PREP founder, Dr. Maria Scott. “It’s important for us to work ‘internally’ within the greater UM system and, with JHF, the students are able to provide valuable assistance for wonderful events.”

In February, the PREP team heads to Boca to assist Ben Leis, a UM alumnus with a Comic Cure event at his recently opened Mizner Park Comedy Club. Additionally, the team will help the UM family again with the Donor Recognition Scholarship Luncheon and with the highly successful School of Communication event PhilADthropy.