Student Organizations: Finding Your Pack

Whether you’re a new student, or a senior looking for the perfect organization to make your last year something special, the UW Communication Department has a variety of student-run organizations for you to join! Department clubs, and UW chapters of national organizations, give students the opportunity to network in a specific industry, gain experience outside of the classroom, develop leadership skills, and meet professionals who are committed to helping young people start their careers.

The Association for Women in Communications

Past and current members of this SRO have found it to be a great resource for developing professional relationships, and gaining knowledge about careers for women in communication. During chapter meetings, members engage in active discussions, plan work site tours, and hear presentations from women in a communication discipline. AWC also holds networking, interviewing and resume workshops throughout the school year. “I love the supportive and encouraging club members, as well as how AWC prioritizes creating networking opportunities for women in the COM department,” said Annika Larson, past AWC chapter president and now a proud COM graduate. “Through AWC I experienced that first big push to really start thinking about what I wanted to do in a future career!”

UW PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America)

The Public Relations Student Society of America has more than 9,600 members in 284 universities across the country. Its mission is to cultivate a mutually beneficial relationship between students and professional public relations practitioners.  The UW PRSSA chapter holds bi-weekly meetings. “I love PRSSA because hearing firsthand from professionals in PR has helped me fall in love with the industry and figure out what I want in a career,” says chapter co-president, Natalie McCullough. “I’m excited to give other students on campus the same opportunity!”

The chapter hosts skill-based workshops, panels with local professionals and alumni, office tours; and gives members opportunities for networking, professional development, and employment through internships and post-grad positions. “PRSSA has pushed me to step out of my comfort zone to connect with professionals in order to learn more about the PR industry and my future career goals,” adds chapter co-president, Jill Christensen. “The experiences and connections PRSSA has given me are invaluable and I cannot wait to share these opportunities with other students in the upcoming year.”

Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) UW

The Society of Professional Journalists supports journalism students in their pursuit of a deeper understanding of professional journalism. The UW chapter is a valuable resource for journalism and communications students. Chapter members provide connections with professional journalists in the greater Seattle area and beyond, host networking and mentorship events, workshops, and talks with professional journalists. SPJ at UW also offers updates on communication and journalism scholarships, community events, internships, and jobs.

“Every day I’m inspired by the work journalists in Seattle and around the country do to inform and educate the public about the tough but necessary issues we all face. It gives me hope to see young journalists write compelling and important stories for their communities and I’m proud to support them with SPJ,” says chapter president, Taylor McAvoy. “It has given me the opportunity to meet with professional journalists and build valuable connections for the future. The people I have met through SPJ have been there for me whenever I need to ask a question, or simply have a second pair of eyes on a story draft.”

The UW Student Chapter meets twice a month, hosting skill-building workshops and networking opportunities with journalism professionals. “I hope to see more students take advantage of our services and become involved in the journalism community,” McAvoy adds. “In the past we have held workshops and talks, networking events, and socials. I’m excited to keep that tradition going and add more events and talks centered on our legislature and contemporary issues. I also hope to be more involved with our regional SPJ chapter and other student chapters.”

The Debate Union

The University of Washington Debate Union competes in intercollegiate two-person team policy debate as a part of the National Debate Tournament (NDT) and the Cross-Examination Debate Association (CEDA). Its research-based format of debate is widely considered the most intense and rigorous in the world. “Debate has been rewarding because I have done something that I feel many people will never do,” said Victoria Braun, who led the team to victory in last year’s CEDA tournament. “It pushed me way out of my comfort zone and taught me so much. It helped with many of my classes too!” Debate Union members compete in debate tournaments against the best teams in the country.

Rhetoric Club

The Rhetoric Club promotes undergraduate research and critical practices within the tradition of rhetorical theory. Members of the club are students who are interested in pursuing community engagement ambassadorships between rhetoric and other disciplines on campus, and working through personal research projects. Language is powerful; thoughtful language, even more so. The club members will work together to think about, practice, and create methods for, effective and responsible communication. Be it on campus, or off, students who participate in the club get valuable experience thinking academically and engaging practically to put their knowledge and skills to use.

The Daily

The Daily is the University of Washington’s completely student-run paper. All photographers, writers, designers, videographers, and editors who contribute to the paper are UW students. The paper provides a professional learning environment for aspiring journalists.

“I love journalism because of the opportunity it gives me to hear people’s stories and tell them to the world,” said Moh Kloub, former Editor-in-Chief of The Daily. “There’s so many great stories right here at UW. I encourage all students, journalists or not, to speak with as many students and faculty and staff as possible in their time here.”

Prospective reporters must complete an intensive quarter-long class taught by a development editor (Daily 101) before being accepted as staff. Writers will be expected to complete a minimum of three stories throughout the class, with more encouraged. This class is held every quarter. At the end of each quarter, writers will be hired based on their completion of the course.

To learn more about any of these organizations, students are encouraged to click the embedded links above and reach out to club officers.