Stevenson’s in-house, student-staffed public relations agency opens in School of Design building showcasing the work of PR students
By Connor Lutts
Stevenson now has its own public relations agency, staffed by students, overseen by faculty, and housed in the School of Design on the Owings Mills North campus.
The Mill – a project that has been six years in the making – is a fresh and exuberant resource not only for the students working at the Mill but the community surrounding SU as well.
The Mill will be offered as a class starting Spring 2023 semester on Tuesdays at 2 p.m., but the grand opening of the space occurred the evening of Oct. 18 with an arch of red balloons, a giant pair of scissors, barbecue dinner and chocolate bars.
Stevenson President Elliot Hirshman, faculty, staff, and students gathered in the School of Design lobby to celebrate the opening of the new agency.
Leeanne Bell-McManus, a Stevenson communications professor, has been leading the Mill, and this year is working with a team of students on behalf of client Patterson Park in downtown Baltimore.
“Our students are very excited to have the opportunity to share with you some of the cool stuff they are doing in The Mill agency this year,” Dr. Bell-McManus said, encouraging the crowd to mingle with students.
Dr. Hirshman and other dignitaries also attended, and all had positive things to say about The Mill. Dr. Hirshman noted The Mill’s mission is to both train students in public relations and to present them with opportunities when they leave school.
He also said he wants “to see what the Mill does in terms of helping a student to get out there with a real client.”
School of Design Dean Hostalka agreed with Dr. Hirshman by praising The Mill and how far it has come within the past six years. The Mill physically is a separate room on the north end of the School of Design building that was specially designed and crafted to allow the students to excel at working with one client per semester.
“The Mill is an interdisciplinary design center in which students would work collaboratively across majors to apply what they learned in their classes to real client challenges,” Hostalka said.
She called The Mill “a dynamic hub within the school where students apply theories and practices of human-centric design, communication, branding, and storytelling in order to connect with diverse communities and contribute to society.”
To go into more detail, President Hirshman talked about a couple of things, including why The Mill was opened, what students can do now that they couldn’t before the Mill was opened, and how long the project has been in the works.
“When Stevenson approaches an employer and says, we bring faculty expertise, staff expertise, we have all these great hardworking enthusiastic students, that catches people’s attention” Hirshman said. “Additionally, with the respect that Stevenson has in the community, now people are really looking to come to the Mill to not only help students but also to work alongside students.”