Throughout my time at the University of Oregon (UO), I realized it’s not just the coursework that set me up for success, but also the invaluable experiential learning opportunities the school provided. Undoubtedly, classroom lectures and projects laid a solid foundation of knowledge, but through student organizations and collaborating with professionals, I was able to apply what I learned in the classroom to real-world situations.
The School of Journalism and Communication’s (SOJC) emphasis on hands-on learning gives students various opportunities to enrich their learning process. Regardless of your major in the SOJC, there is a club, student group or learning trip for everyone to enjoy.
Four of SOJC’s experiential learning opportunities
1. Student clubs
One of the first ways I got involved in the SOJC was by joining clubs on campus. I was looking for the chance to learn alongside supportive peers. Through an SOJC advisor, I found the Women in Creative Industries (WICI) club, where students who value creative solutions and innovation have a safe space for new ideas. WICI was a great way to dip my toe into all the experiential opportunities at the SOJC. Some other valuable clubs at the SOJC I participated in are IR Futures, the UO’s investor relations clubs, and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), a national pre-professional organization for students pursuing public relations.
2. Student magazines
The SOJC is all about storytelling, and one of the best ways to tell stories is through writing. I knew I wanted to get more experience as a storyteller and writer, so I looked for a student-run magazine on campus that interested me. I found Align Magazine, the UO’s student-run fashion, art and culture magazine. Align allows students to join as a writer, blogger, art director, photographer, designer, model or playlist connoisseur. Through Align, I collaborated with many creatives and developed my writing and critical-thinking skills. Some other magazines on campus for students to join are Ethos Magazine, a nationally recognized, award-winning, independent, student-run publication; Flux Magazine, the SOJC’s award-winning flagship publication; and OR Magazine, the school’s award-winning digital magazine.
3. Student agencies
Once I was more involved in the SOJC and I had time to build my skill set, I looked into applying to some of the student agency opportunities. As a public relations major, I knew I wanted to join a group where I could get hands-on client experience. After looking through the student organizations and opportunities on the SOJC’s website, I found Allen Hall Public Relations (AHPR). AHPR is a nationally affiliated, student-run public relations firm that works with real clients throughout Oregon. As an account supervisor for AHPR, I had the opportunity to build my portfolio and test out agency life before graduating with my degree. Advertising students can also join Allen Hall Advertising, a full service, student-run advertising agency.
4. Study abroad
If you are looking for an immersive learning experience, studying abroad is a great way to learn about your field of focus globally. Through Global Education Oregon (GEO), I found a public relations and advertising program in London the summer between my junior and senior years. I learned about global strategic communication and toured several public relations and advertising agencies in the U.K. Plus, I met some great friends along the way. GEO offers other study-abroad programs for SOJC students, including Journalism in London, Advertising and Public Relations in Chile, Wine Marketing in Siena, and Instagramming Paris: Media Unfiltered.
The SOJC offers a plethora of experiential learning opportunities that go beyond the traditional classroom setting. Through student clubs, student magazines, student agencies and learning trips, students can truly immerse themselves in their chosen field of study. These opportunities not only allow students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-world situations, but they also provide a supportive community of peers and industry professionals to guide students. By actively participating in these experiential opportunities, students at the SOJC can develop valuable skills, expand their networks and foster a passion for their chosen profession.
—Amelia Kennedy ’23
Amelia Kennedy ’23 worked at Allen Hall Public Relations as an account supervisor and at Align Magazine as an executive blog copy editor. She graduated in June 2023 to pursue PR. Learn about her experience and connect with her via her LinkedIn profile.