University PR office launches street team

Florida A&M University’s office of communications established a new branch of publicity to act as a liaison between the office and the student body.

The street team, known as the “INFOrmants,” is an attempt by the office of communications to keep the campus community informed.

“Our priority is to keep all FAMU alumni, students, and affiliates in the know on all of our endeavors,” said Sharon Saunders, chief of communications for the university.

The street team consists of three School of Journalism and Graphic Communication students. The inaugural street team includes Erica Baker, Natasha Graddick and Marvin Newsome.

Students were notified of the open positions in an email last fall. Their responsibilities include, working on a number of tasks including volunteering at convocations or press conferences, conduct research, write press releases for FAMU’s Web site, and develop publicity and promotion strategies for special projects.

The street team was selected through an application process where interested students had to submit their resume and cover letter.

Baker, 19, a sophomore broadcast student from Atlanta, said the street team will give her invaluable public relations experience.

“This is a hands-on experience that employers are looking for to set us apart from other applicants,” Baker said.

She said the team was initiated to “let students know more about events put on that the school hosts instead of just organization promoted events.”

Graddick and Newsome said the opportunity is a better way to promote the school to the student body.

“I love FAMU, and I’m glad to be able to communicate important changes and policy adjustments, that can better help the students,” said Graddick, 21, a senior public relations student from Macon, Ga.

Marvin Newsome, 26, a junior public relations student from Philadelphia added, “I had little experience in PR and I felt that it would be something that I would actually be working in. I wanted to gain education and experience in it at the same time.”

Baker said he wants to create lasting relationships and gain a greater knowledge about press throughout the experience.

“I hope to meet new and different people and learn how to write a press release, and how to conduct a press conference,” Baker said.

Newsome worked for the Florida Department of Education for three years before enrolling in public relations at FAMU.

“I have a jumpstart working in a professional environment just not in my concentration,” Newsome said.

One of their first big projects is to gather information in preparation for FAMU Day at the Capitol next week.

“This is another opportunity to gain work experience,” Newsome said. “It’s a thrill to see my name and to see the finished product immediately before I can learn it in the classroom.”