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Innovative Public Relations must raise $14,000 to support graduate assistantship

(WARRENSBURG, Mo). – The student-run Innovative Public Relations organization needs to raise $14,000 to pay for its graduate assistantship next year following budget cuts at the University of Central Missouri.

Tricia Hansen-Horn, a public relations professor and IPR adviser, said the program is only able to keep university funding for its GA position through the 2017-2018 school year. After that, IPR will have to provide their own funding for the GA position.

IPR has raised a little over $3,500 as of Oct. 5. However, about $10,500 more is needed to meet their goal, according to the IPR Twitter account.

The IPR graduate assistant is responsible for overseeing the program and managing jobs with clients.

According to the IPR website, Blake Hedberg is the current GA.

Each year, several public relations students apply online for one of five positions in hopes of being accepted to the team. The IPR team works with a range of clients, from campus and community organizations to larger corporations, on various public relations related projects.

Dani Myers, the IPR graduate assistant from 2011 to 2013, said she was upset by the news of the budget cuts. She said the program was important to her and her career.

“Professionals in the agency world understand how crucial it is to keep clients updated on project progress and the value of demonstrating that PR efforts are making a real difference, and we were able to practice this as students,” Myers said.

Myers said IPR gave her the proper experience to be hired by her current employers.

Sarah Arnett, a sophomore PR student, said IPR is an important program.

“The IPR program here at UCM seems to be a great opportunity for my major, and I really don’t see anything else comparing to the experience that this program allows,” Arnett said. “As a public relations major, I can see the importance that this program has for students wanting to get actual experience in the field that they are pursing. I am confused as to why the program would be something the school would ever want to cut.”

The IPR program began in 2010 and has won three awards: the Kansas City Prism Award for the “Together We’re Stronger Campaign” in 2016, the Kansas City Quill Award in 2013, and the Higher Education Advertising Award in 2012.

Hansen-Horn said IPR is moving forward despite the cut.

“The budget cuts were an unexpected hit to our program,” she said. “However, they are not stopping our current efforts or business with our clients. IPR is an amazing opportunity for our students, and we will do our best to continue our work in the coming semesters on campus.”

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