Concordia’s Public Relations Club will debut the college’s first Social Media Summit on April 14.

The Summit, originally proposed by Concordia senior Joel Leeman, will take the place of the club’s annual spring fashion show.

Leeman said he got the idea from Thomson Reuters, a company he interns for in Eagan, Minn. They held a Social Media Summit for their employees, Leeman said, and while he was only able to view a recording of it, he thought it would be a great event to recreate at Concordia.

“It seems like (social media) is something that affects us both socially and personally, but also professionally,” he said.

With a format similar to the Faith, Reason and World Affairs Symposium or the Fuel the Fire Conference, the club plans to have a keynote speaker followed by breakout sessions. These sessions will be led by members of the Concordia community as well as the Fargo-Moorhead and Minneapolis-St. Paul areas.

The group has considered Dan Schawbel, founder of the management consulting firm Millenial Branding, as a likely keynote speaker for the event. Schawbel has appeared on Forbes’ “30 under 30” list. He focuses on teaching people how to create a personal brand and establish an online presence, Leeman said.

“In order to get a job, a lot of times you have to have some sort of an online presence or people are reaching out via some sort of social media,” Leeman said. “In some way, shape, or form, we are going to see a lot more jobs within social media. Even if you’re a teacher, you might use blogging in your classroom.”

The Summit has been funded largely by the Special Projects and Initiatives Fund, which means, as of now, it will not be an annual event, Leeman said. Projects funded by the SPIF are meant to be one-time events with a wide-reaching impact.

“We definitely look at this as the special project that students will get a lot out of,” he said. “We just want to create a really great experience now, and if someone decides they want something similar to it again next year, great.”

One focus of the Public Relations Club is to look at the role of ethics within the community, said Dr. Kirsten Theye, a Concordia professor and advisor to the group. Therefore, the Summit will include a charity component, similar to the fashion show. The charity project will most likely pertain to an aspect of technology.

“The whole point is to remember that while we have this amazing opportunity to learn this kind of stuff, let’s not forget there’s the rest of the world who’s not quite so lucky,” Theye said.

The charitable aspect of the event is being decided by one of five committes working on the event, Theye said. The other four are event planning, graphic design, publicity and concurrent sessions.

Kristin Boyum, a senior at Concordia, is the head of the publicity committee. She said that although the Summit is focusing on social media, the event will be publicized through various mediums, including posters, classroom visits, email blasts and Facebook posts.

“We really do want to captivate our audiences,” Boyum said. “(Facebook) is a great tool, but it doesn’t always captivate every…audience. Word of mouth is the ultimate tool to bring awareness to the event.”

Theye said she had some goals for the Summit.

“I hope (the Summit) can give our students the knowledge and the tools to use social media for powers of good and not hamstring their future success because of how they’re using social media now,” she said.

Leeman agreed.

“I can’t stress enough how great it will be for everyone, regardless of major, regardless of interest,” Leeman said. “We’re all going to deal with social media in our lives and if your job doesn’t touch it, I’d love to see what your job is. There’s something in it for everyone.”

Jordan Elton

Jordan Elton '14 is majoring in multimedia journalism with a minor in Spanish. She is from Apple Valley, Minn. In addition to writing for the Concordian, Jordan is involved in Student Government Association, Habitat for Humanity and Campus Ministry Commission.

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