Civic Engagement


PRSSA Student-Run Firm to Work with Local American Red Cross

Student-run public relations firm North Road Communications will be working with the Mid-Hudson Valley chapter of the American Red Cross on two major events this semester. This project is the first for the new firm, which is affiliated with the Marist Red Foxes chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. 

On March 22, the firm will serve as on-site event staff at the chapter’s annual gala held at The Grandview in Poughkeepsie. Students will greet guests, staff the registration table and assist with other day-of-event activities.

The firm, which is donating its services to the local organization, also will participate in preparations for the chapter’s golf tournament on June 11 at the Dutchess Golf and Country Club in Poughkeepsie. Public relations students will coordinate mailings and materials as well as brainstorm ideas for event signage, among other activities. In addition, Charlotte Catania, a public relations major and director of the student-run firm, will serve as co-chair of the chapter’s golf committee, working closely with Executive Director Darryl Lafferty.

“These events offer our students the opportunity to serve our community while gaining practical work experience,” said Dr. Steven Ralston, dean of the School of Communication and the Arts.


Capping Projects Engage Community

Senior Capstone Project Raises Money for Poughkeepsie High School Music Program

capping2Music is a means of communication that brings everyone together,” said Angelica Frucci, senior public relations major. “It is a way of life.”

As part of her senior capstone project, Frucci, along with fellow public relations major, Meghan Barbour, and radio, television and film major, Jamie Hollingsworth, created “Move with the Music,” a music festival held November 20 in the student center Cabaret to increase awareness about the importance of music education as well as raise money for the Poughkeepsie High School music program.

Throughout the semester, the group worked closely with the three musical directors at Poughkeepsie High School to complete their project. Part of their project featured a documentary showcasing the impact that music can have both inside as well as outside the classroom. Frucci, Barbour and Hollingsworth also reached out to local media in the form of public service announcements and press releases in order to publicize their initiative. The team also maintained a blog, Twitter feed and Facebook page inviting members of the Marist and Poughkeepsie communities to participate in their cause.

“Marist College students are active in our local community, and we’re pleased to see them support such a worthy program,” said Steven Ralston, dean of the School of Communication and the Arts.


Communication Majors Bake for a Difference

capping1For their senior capstone project, public relations, advertising and journalism students Lina Kirby, Lindsey Sacco and Molly Sloan, teamed up with Share Our Strength to organize a Great American Bake Sale at Marist this fall.

Share Our Strength is a campaign for national service that mobilizes communities around the country to combat childhood hunger through local bake sales. On November 2, Marist students held a day-long bake sale on campus, raising more than $700 for the organization.

The team applied the skills and knowledge that they gained through their communication classes to create a campaign called Marist to the Rescue. They encouraged other students to join their fight against childhood hunger through various media outlets. Throughout the semester they maintained a blog, Twitter feed and Facebook page. The team also developed a press kit that they sent to local newspapers and wrote several feature stories for campus publications.

“Having a lot of writing experience from my public relations and advertising classes definitely helped with this project,” Sacco said. “All three of us have an interest in working for a non-profit organization someday, so pairing our communication skills with a good cause such as the Share Our Strength organization was a perfect fit.”

Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Conducts Workshop for Girl Scouts

Members of the Marist College Red Foxes chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) recently conducted a public speaking workshop for 13 Girl Scouts from Pleasant Valley Troop 10197 and Hyde Park Troop 10141. PRSSA members Michael Bernardini, Sabrina Clark, Nick Fugitt, Deanna Morosoff and Alexis Murphy, along with faculty advisor Jennie Donohue, developed the 90-minute workshop over a several week period. The evening session, which was held Friday, April 8, included educational and hands-on training designed to help the local Girl Scouts develop their public speaking and leadership abilities. Steven Ralston, Dean of the School of Communication and the Arts, noted of the workshop that "Our students give their time and expertise to others willingly, and community engagement is a distinctive feature on the Marist College experience."


Music Students Support Creating Harmony for Holy Trinity Campaign

Marist College music students are reaching out to help support music at Holy Trinity School in Poughkeepsie. On November 18, at 7 p.m., the college's a cappella groups Sirens and Time Check, and the Marist Handbell Choir will conduct a benefit concert in Marist's Nelly Goletti Theatre. The concert is open to the public with a suggested donation of $5. Refreshments will be available and a raffle will benefit Holy Trinity. The November 18 concert is part of a larger fundraising effort. The Creating Harmony for Holy Trinity campaign will host several programs to raise $1,500 to purchase a set of handbells and African drums for Holy Trinity.

Funds are also being raised through a "Music Note" program. For a $1 donation, donor names are displayed on a paper music note in the Marist Music Department. To make a donation, contact student Kaitlyn Tully at In addition, Applebee's Restaurant on Route 9 opposite Marist donated part of its proceeds on November 2 to the campaign. Holy Trinity School has 170 students who, because of limited funding, experience most of their music through computer programs.

The Marist fundraising campaign is being conducted as a community service and class project by senior communication students Kaitlyn Tully, Katelyn Rotondaro, Shaun Morrison, and Nick Fugitt.


Students' Capstone Project Helps Launch Initiative to Save Historic Theatre

Marist College students in Dr. Laura Linder’s Senior Capstone class produced a video for the Rosendale Theatre Collective as part of the requirements for their degrees. Rosendale Theatre Collective was asked by a team of three students—Stephanie Barrett, Nate Hall and Juan Rodriguez--if they would be interested in having a video produced about their organization. RTC readily agreed. Rosendale Theatre Collective will use the video to promote its mission of saving the Rosendale Theatre, and to raise awareness and funds. Barrett, Hall and Rodriguez spent hours shooting and editing footage of interviews with RTC members and the interior and exterior of the theatre. The resulting ten minute video will be used by RTC as an introduction to the Collective on its web site.

The Capstone class is a culminating experience in which students integrate subject-matter they have acquired to connect theory and application in preparation for entry into a career. It is both a synthesis—reflection and integration—and a bridge—a real-world preparatory experience that focuses on the post-graduation future. “This capstone course is designed to bring together all previous years work in both foundation and concentration courses,” Dr. Linder said. According to Dr. Linder, “This course gives students time to reflect upon what they have learned, to examine the ways their identities have been shaped and to look to their futures in light of what they have accomplished in the past four years. It is meant to be both a culmination and a beginning in which participants begin to change their status from students to graduates,”

For more information about the project, contact Laura Linder, Associate Professor of Media Arts, Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY, (845) 575-3000.