Edwardsville Township Supervisor candidate ‘rents’ PRSSA members

Speech communication students gained hands-on experience through helping a local politician campaign for the April 9 election.

Frank Miles "rented" members of SIUE's Public Relations Student Society of America to help on his campaign for Edwardsville township supervisor. Miles donated $200 to PRSSA for "renting" the students. Photo courtesy of Stacey Howard

Three students, who are all members of SIUE’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) worked with Frank Miles, the democratic candidate for Edwardsville Township Supervisor. Miles defeated Barth Legate by more than 350 votes.

Miles said he contacted speech communication professor Stacey Howard about working with students after seeing an article in the Edwardsville Intelligencer “that talked about ways to rent PRSSA students.” Miles said he donated $200 to PRSSA for “renting” the students.

Miles, an SIUE alumnus, said he wanted to work with SIUE students because of being an alumnus.

“I also have used SIUE interns throughout my entire career, so I wanted to make sure we kept using those,” Miles said.

Junior public relations major Dawn Embry, also PRSSA treasurer, said PRSSA students were able to get other students involved in discussions about the Edwardsville township and hand out flyers about why students should be involved in the election process and their community.

“We helped spread education about exactly what the township does for SIUE and for this community,” Embry said.

Embry, who hopes to one day work in government, said she enjoyed the opportunity to get her foot in the door through Miles’ campaign.

“It helped me understand exactly what happens in the campaigning process and some of the rules and regulations and guidelines that you have to follow,” Embry said.

Sophomore speech communication major Colton Huelskamp also worked on Miles’ campaign. Huelskamp said he thought working on the campaign would be a good opportunity “to get a taste for both worlds” – politics and public relations.

Huelskamp said he liked working on the campaign and that it was “different [and] very new.”

“I just enjoyed how down to earth the candidates were with us and just how open we were with each other,” Huelskamp said.

Students have arranged “promoting our campus presence,” according to Miles, by getting students interested in the election and out to vote, as well as arranging some meet greets and working to expand Miles’ social media presence.

One meet-and-greet took place at SIUE a week prior to the election.

“We didn’t have a very large crowd [at the SIUE meet-and-greet], but just getting us out on campus and getting the word out to students whether or not they attended the meet and greet is important,” Miles said.

Working with students has had a “great impact” on the campaign, according to Miles, by “helping provide a different perspective” and “some needed energy in local elections.”

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