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Loyola’s PRSSA chapter wins national award for its campaign to fight human sex trafficking

| By Nick Alexopulos
Loyola University Maryland PRSSA Not For Sale graphic
Loyola's PRSSA chapter was recognized for its 2013 "Not For Sale" campaign that raised awareness about human sex trafficking. (Graphic designed by Chelsea McGuckin, '13)

Loyola University Maryland’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter has been honored with the Dr. F. H. Teahan Chapter Award in Community Service for its work to raise awareness about the dangers and prevalence of human sex trafficking in Baltimore.

The national award, given to only one PRSSA chapter each year, recognizes voluntary projects that directly benefit the chapter’s community. Loyola’s PRSSA chapter received the award Oct. 13 at the PRSSA 2014 National Conference in Washington, D.C.

Student members applied public relations skills and strategies they learned in the classroom to develop their fall 2013 campaign to fight human sex trafficking. Led by then-chapter members Milena Loren, ’14, Meg Brenner, ’14, Julia O’Connell, ’14, and Nicole Santarpia, ’14, the three-month campaign aimed to heighten awareness about the $33 billion industry through events, active discussion and presentations, and social media outreach. During their flagship “Not For Sale” event on campus, the chapter raised more than $300 for local non-profits Safe House of Hope and The Samaritan Women and collected nearly 50 signatures to petition the Maryland General Assembly for new, stronger legislation on the issue.

Loyola’s PRSSA chapter has 38 student members, nearly eight percent of all communication majors.

“I’m so proud of our students. They’ve reached another level of quality and caliber in their work, and their commitment to such an important social justice initiative reflects how deeply they value Loyola’s Jesuit mission,” said Tania Rosas-Moreno, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication at Loyola and PRSSA faculty advisor.

Rosas-Moreno oversaw the campaign and provided guidance for the chapter’s award application. She also helped former chapter president Alayna Shamy, ’14, who served during the 2013-14 academic year, apply for and win a PRSSA National Gold Key for outstanding student leadership. Shamy is one of only two-dozen people from across the country to be honored with a National Gold Key this year.

With a new group of student leaders now at the helm, Loyola’s PRSSA chapter is focusing its efforts on Rendez-Vous Haiti and No Impact Week.

More information about the national awards is available at prssa.org.

Marketing and communications intern Elizabeth Nachbar, '15, co-wrote this news story.

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