The Public Relations Experience Program (PREP) students stayed close to home on Friday, Feb. 23 as they assisted with PhilADthropy at the University of Miami School of Communication. Usually all-nighters are not encouraged, but this annual philanthropic event proves to be an exception. The 25-hour marathon sees communication students provide an entire campaign to nonprofits from the South Florida region.

“It is the most genuine opportunity for our students to just put aside their inhibitions to do what they do best and not have to worry about tomorrow” said Meryl Blau, assistant professor of professional practice in Advertising and faculty adviser for University of Miami AdGroup.

While the participating students were expressing their creative energy and staving off sleep with caffeine, another group of students worked behind-the-scenes to make sure it all ran according to plan. PREP students staffed the entire 25-hour event, from Friday into Saturday, to make sure that the participants had everything they needed to make the best possible impact for their clients.

“PREP makes this event run smoothly,” said Blau. “Without PREP we have one person, who is an event planner plus our AdGroup executive board, and what PREP does is give our board members, who facilitate planning this event, the opportunity to fully participate. It makes everything run seamlessly.”

PREP students Mikaela Ludwick, Ace Soto, and Fabiana De Luca worked through the night to make sure that the participants of PhilADthropy were well taken care of. Beginning with facilitating dinner catering and working up until the final presentations, these students made sure that the creative teams only had to focus on one thing, their campaigns. With direction from PREP Manager Alex Kamphorst and Coordinator Evelyn Pang, the students handled meal set-up for three separate meals, coffee delivery to each team, and presentation room preparation just before the culmination of the event. The students in turn also had the opportunity to photograph the event in action and assist the School of Communication with social media coverage.

Earlier in the day, PREP Managers Katie Ceravolo and Ally Lustbader supervised a team of hard-working students who set-up the SoC courtyard and transformed it from “school” to “center stage.” The team of Lina Abdullah, Isabella Di Giglio, Tayana Dix, and Kayla Pournazarian hung sails across the courtyard, set up tables and chairs, banners, orchestrated the lunch service and so much more.

“This event was a really great one to start with,” said Mikaela Ludwick, freshman and first semester PREP student. “It really gets into event management and those things you wouldn’t normally picture, that may not be glamorous, but are really crucial to an event’s success.”

PREP gives students the chance to have hands-on public relations experience and to see the impact that their work has on a successful event. PREP works every event imaginable, from galas to sporting events, and by starting right in their own backyard, these PREP students are able to perfect a myriad of skills they take with them into internships and their future career.

Alexander Kamphorst is a PREP Manager and senior majoring in public relations.