Advertising and public relations awards ceremony celebrates student work

Kyle Bindas

Grand Valley State University’s advertising and public relations (APR) program prides itself on combining creativity and innovation with classroom learning, as exemplified through the events and opportunities the program offers its students. One such program is the annual Superior Awards, an APR award ceremony that recognizes the work done by students in the APR program.

This year’s event took place on April 13 in the Eberhard Center on GVSU’s Pew Campus.

Submissions for the awards were open to APR majors and non-majors that have taken APR classes. There were a total of 10 categories, including awards in superior single advertisement, advertising campaign and PR media kit.

Projects were reviewed by panels of judges consisting of both faculty and local industry professionals. Work deemed superior was that considered above industry standard.

“We have three different judges for everything that gets entered,” said Jordan Punches, account executive for GrandPR, a student-run public relations firm housed at GVSU. “(Superior work is) going to be something that really stands out in the industry. (It) goes above and beyond, shows creativity in its design.”

A total of 52 entries into the program and 22 awards were given out.

Before awards were given, a keynote address was given by Kim Bode, the owner of 834 Design and Marketing. During her address, she encouraged students to take chances, be willing to have their work criticized and to learn from failure.

“Part of submitting your work like this is realizing it’s going to get critiqued by other people, you are always going to be judged,” she said. “I think it’s really important that you look at that, you learn from it and you move on. Everybody is going to fail. It’s what you do after you fail that is really going to define you as a professional and as a person.”

Master of ceremonies Derek DeVries took over, announcing each category and calling the winners to the stage.

This year marks the biggest year in the ceremony’s history, more than doubling the number of submissions and expanding the venture from a classroom to a banquet hall.

“In past years we’ve had 12, 15 submissions,” said Rachel Beatty, programming director for GrandPR. “We’ve expanded it more than 100 percent, basically. We’ve doubled what we had in the past.”

These awards allow students in the APR program to get some recognition as well as make impressions to potential future employers not only at the ceremony, but in the future by having the award on a resume.

“It gives students a chance to get some recognition, beyond the grade they’re getting in their class for some of their work,” DeVries said. “It gives them the opportunity to benchmark them against what a professional in the field thinks of what they are doing, to make sure they’re on track to creating work that they’ll be doing as an employee.”