Public relations practicum students working with VPAC

November 6, 2013

PR Students give CSUN President Dianne Harrison iPad survey
Journalism students in the PR practicum use an iPad to survey CSUN President Dianne Harrison about her experience at the Valley Performing Arts Center.

CSUN journalism students in the public relations practicum are gaining first-hand experience working for the Valley Performing Arts Center this fall.

Dr. Marcella De Veaux’s J398 class is part of the myCSUNtablet initative, and the students are using their iPads at recent performances to survey audience members about their experience.

“The course is run similar to a public relations agency and provides for students to meet with VPAC leaders in a weekly client meeting,” De Veaux said. “Here, students and the client discuss expectations and goals, as well as what students will deliver and within what timeframe.”

Students are getting experience in a wide array of public relations activities.

“As students, we are providing research, writing, media relations, brand awareness and event planning services for the VPAC,” said Emily Olson, a senior studying journalism. “It’s great because we are gaining one-on-one experience with a client and learning about real-world expectations.”

One of the major assignments students have been tasked with is to conduct audience research.

“VPAC leaders want to know what their current demographics are as well as their demographics for different types of shows,” said Sharifa McCauley, also a senior studying journalism and Japanese language and culture. “We are doing this by conducting surveys via the use of iPads and an app called Student Voice, before and after shows.”

The VPAC leaders first upload the survey to the Student Voice app. Public relations students can then access the survey using the iPad and administer it to the public. Students surveyed about 50 guests prior to the recent performance by Bernadette Peters.

Students also are also raising awareness of the VPAC and its shows to the student community on campus.

“One of the things many students are unaware of is the $12 rush ticket,” said Olson.

Student tickets generally cost between $25 and $45, but if students purchase tickets 24 hours before a show, the tickets only cost $12.

For more information, visit