Bradley's AMA and PRSSA Present Communication in Times of Crisis

May 6, 2014

By Lindsay Anderson

Last month, Bradley’s chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) and Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapters hosted guest speaker Brian Williamsen ‘98, Illinois Department of Transportation community relations manager and president of the BU-CAN alumni group.

This joint venture promoted the convergence of learning among both students from the Foster College of Business and the Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts.

“This was a great opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to learn about communication beyond the scope of everything going as planned,” said AMA faculty advisor Brad Eskridge. 

Williamsen captivated and connected with each audience member by discussing creative details of IDOT’s crisis communication processes in relation to events that hit closer to home for some Bradley students in the Central Illinois community.

“Williamsen was a fantastic speaker,” said senior PRSSA president Michelle Flores ‘14. “The biggest highlight of the evening came from the fact that his talk on crisis communications was so timely and relevant to all public relations and marketing majors. The tornado in Washington was something that our community had been affected by, and to hear how IDOT smoothly handled it, despite numerous obstacles, was very interesting to all of us.”

“My favorite part was when Williamsen discussed the creative ways that he and other IDOT officials were getting information out to residents,” said AMA president Rebecca Walczak ‘15.  “Since there was no power, the ‘normal’ ways to reach out to people with social media and websites couldn’t be used.  Hundreds of printouts were instead handed out.”

“I think the event was popular because of the relevance of crisis communication to so many students studying marketing and communications,” Flores continued.  “So much of what each field does overlaps with each other, and students studying both need to understand crisis communications.  Combining groups definitely also helped get the word out about the event and add to the popularity.”