When you are a public relations professional, you learn very quickly how important it is to establish and maintain positive community partnerships. Building these lifelong bridges proves to be valuable and essential when it comes to enhancing community engagement in projects, increasing community awareness issues and establishing a framework for continued support. Partnerships represent the pinnacle of leadership and collaboration in civil society.Recently, a student approached me on campus who was amazed and eager to tell me about a trip her class had taken to a local television station. As I listened to her story, feelings of nostalgia came over me. I began to relive my own experience in a similar situation. I thought about, how, many years ago I too was afforded a similar "experience of a lifetime” through Hinds CC. Her story made me smile with the knowledge that my Alma Mater was still building incredible bridges to foster student success.
The road I traveled:
While in elementary school, we took a field trip to Channel 16 WAPT News. We received tours of the facility and met some amazing people, one of which was the news director. On the way out, she gave me her card and I vowed to her that one day I would come back and work there at the station. I was nine years old at the time. In 1997-98, I was a young, eager student on the Raymond Campus of Hinds. Ready to make my mark in the world. Taking classes, but with no real direction, I decided to sign up for Co-Op partnership opportunities. I told the staff at Hinds my dream of returning to 16 WAPT News, and they quickly scheduled my interview with the station. With the business card given to me years earlier in hand and the help of Hinds, I got the internship! While there, I received firsthand knowledge of the daily workings of news production. It was an experience I would take with me for years to come.
Continuing to build:
A few weeks ago, our Hinds CC–Utica Campus’ Television Production and Broadcast Technology class, because of a partnership with their Instructor and District Chair Tim Crisler, was afforded a similar experience. Students took a trip to WLBT Channel 3 News. While there, they received tours and got a chance to meet industry professionals seen on television daily, as well as behind the scene professionals. The class witnessed a live broadcast of Mid-Day Mississippi and spent time with Meteorologist Patrick Ellis, who very graciously took time out of his day to answer questions and give tips for success in the business.
Collaborating the right way:
Community partnerships create a touch point so that sometime in the future, a person who needs a company's product or service might say, “I’ve heard of them” or “Send them over. They are our friends.” According to the Harvard Family Research Project of 2010, ”When schools and community organizations work together to support learning, everyone benefits. Partnerships can serve to strengthen, support and even transform individual partners, resulting in improved program quality, more efficient use of resources, and better alignment of goals and curricula.”
My experience made way for me to grow into a person who loves to be “in the know of things.” It groomed me for higher education and professional changes and challenges. For the new generation of students, I am told that they will take with them key industry-leading skills needed to be successful in the business. Although different companies and highways were taken, one thing reminded the same -- Hinds CC made both experiences possible through positive community partnerships.
Hinds CC- UT Radio and Television Production and Broadcasting Technology Students, from left, Derrell Smith of Vicksburg, Richard Simmns of Lorman, Deloris Brown of Utica, WLBT News Meterologist Patrick Ellis, WLBT Director Mildred Vance, Aikissa Butler of Utica, District Chair HCC -UT Radio & TV Production and Broadcast Technology Timothy Crisler; back, WLBT News Director Robert Littleton Jr., Joseph Hall of Jackson, Jayden Gooden of Jackson and Marcus James of Vicksburg.