PR group gives back to community


By Kelsey Stewart, News Editor


Christmas is going to the dogs. At least, that’s what MaverickPR-PRSSA’s holiday fundraiser did.

The public relations group held its seventh annual Santa Paws fundraiser with all proceeds going to Hearts United for Animals, a no-kill animal shelter in Auburn, Neb.

For $15, pet owners could bring their furry friends to The Bookworm, in Countryside Village, for a photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Chris Allen, professor in the School of Communication, and his wife Elaine , played Santa and Mrs. Claus for part of the day. The Christmas duo was played by a Countryside Village couple for the rest of the day. 

The annual event raised more money than it did last year, said John Haskell, PRSSA service director. 

“We had a larger turn out, more people and a better setup,” Haskell said. 

More than 50 adults, children and pets came to the event, raising $385 for the no-kill shelter. Fourteen group members volunteered.Photos were printed on-site for customers. 

“We enjoyed seeing the animals at the event and were able to get into the holiday spirit by dressing festively and decorating the tree together,” said Megan Romero, PRSSA chapter president.

One photogenic pooch stole hearts. Victoria, a 60-pound English Bulldog, was the first customer and was popular with the public relations group, Romero said.

“She was big and slobbery but cute,” Haskell said. “[English Bulldogs] look aggressive but they’re lovers. It lightened the mood and set us on a positive note.”

More than just pups posed with Santa. Kids got in on the action, too.  The best part for Haskell was having his 2-year-old son, James, and his two dogs’ photos taken with Santa. 

MaverickPR-PRSSA’s giving spirit didn’t stop with Santa Paws. The group is also donating 100 backpacks for homeless and at-risk teens through Youth Emergency Services.

Members filled backpacks during finals week with clothing, hygiene items and non-perishable foods for third annual “Say YES: Give Back with a Pack” drive. 

The group relied on donations from students, faculty and staff to make the backpacks as full as possible, Haskell said. 

“The YES Backpack Drive is just a small way our chapter can give back to our community,” Romero said. “Items raised go toward struggling youth, aged 12 to 21, so it hits close to home for our members. Our goal is to provide relief and hope to young adults who receive our backpacks.”

The filled backpacks will be delivered to Youth Emergency Services. 

“My favorite part will be finishing and seeing the results, seeing the end product,”Haskell said.