Whitney Thomas, a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis,
is a paid, student staff member for Ursa’s, Wash U’s late-night
programming board. Whitney is one of Ursa’s Public Relations
Managers and specifically works on the organization’s social media,
promotions, and strategic marketing. Because Ursa’s has weekly
programs, Whitney’s role is imperative in order to reach students,
inform them on the event details, and increase the brand of Ursa’s.
In January, Whitney took her position to another level. |
During Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend, after the first week of
classes, the Ursa’s Board convened for their semester retreat. The
team was given the general retreat topics at the end of fall
semester and was encouraged to request any additional sessions to
cover topics the board may need. The student staff members were also
given the opportunity to present a session if they felt comfortable
and were passionate about a topic. Whitney was eager to participate!
Through her academic studies in Psychology and Marketing, Whitney
has a lot of applicable knowledge that allows her to study Ursa’s
promotion habits, attendance numbers, and other sources of public
Throughout January, during her winter break, Whitney prepared a
public relations and strategic marketing session for her fellow
board members. As her graduate adviser, I checked in on Whitney
prior to the retreat to see if she needed any assistance but Whitney
had her session planned and ready to be executed. Whitney had been
using her time off academics to collect data from the events hosted
in the fall semester to be able to provide the Ursa’s board the most
accurate breadth of the information.
For Ursa's January retreat, Whitney was the only student to present.
After lunch Whitney displayed the PowerPoint that she made and had
prepared almost an hour’s worth of information. Prior to, Whitney
made an anonymous poll that was sent to all students that had
attended an event in the fall semester. Her poll included questions
regarding how they found out about events, if they would recommend
the organization to other students, what ideas they had for the new
semester, and more. As these responses came in, Whitney evaluated
them and comprised visual representations to better explain the
answers to the entire board. The information from this poll proved
to be a huge asset to our retreat. The students were able to hear
from the peers they had served at recent events.
Not only was Whitney’s presentation able to inform us about the
percentage of growth our organization has seen, but she also
included interactive material that allowed other students on the
board to ask questions and be engaged. A component of her session
was dedicated to eliciting feedback from the board members in order
to make her position as useful as possible to her colleagues.
Through the planning and execution of Whitney’s retreat session, she
made it clear that she knew how much her position affected the
entire organization and she wanted to take the initiative to see it
grow. For all of the outstanding work that Whitney put in over break
and during the retreat, I believe Whitney Thomas should be
recognized for January’s Student Staff Member.
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