At Humber College, Public Relations Graduate Certificate students are so well-prepared, they take on real-world clients before the end of their first term. 

The class recently hosted live-streamed wellness and sustainability events for Humber's Office of Sustainability and the Student Succes & Engagement department. 

Repurpose for Purpose 

On November 29, PR students hosted an online event meant to foster a more environmentally friendly campus called "Repurpose for Purpose." Their clients, the Office of Sustainability and Student Success & Engagement, challenged them to help educate faculty and students on the importance of sustainability. 

"We wanted to be able to engage students with this event and teach them about the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and ways to practice sustainability on and off campus," said first-year student Madison Gerrie, the team's communications executive. 

Maddison Gerrie smiles slightly in a headshot with her hand resting near her face. There is green foliage behind her.

They brought together vendors including the Humber Arboretum, Indigenous Education & Engagement (IE&E), Student Wellness & Accessibility and more. 

"They've each set up their slideshow presentations and there's time for questions, there's prizes, and it's just a nice little break for students from their studies," said Gerrie. 

The class was split into eight groups with various tasks like organizing vendors, producing and scripting the event and promoting Repurpose for Purpose on social media. A raffles committee secured gift cards for retailers like and Patagonia. 

The executive team also held weekly update meetings with the clients. 

"It was a little nerve-wracking, knowing on our second week that we were going to be handing this in as our first real assignment of our PR careers, but it's been great," said Gerrie. 

"The clients keep us accountable and have been really great in guiding us in the right direction and setting us up for success." 

Repurpose for Purpose reached more than 100 people. 

Ways to Wellness 

The second section of the PR class worked with Student Success & Engagement to promote its services to students who have been studying off-campus, or who have never been to Humber's physical locations. 

On December 5, the students coordinated presentations from Student Life, Student Wellness & Accessibility, Athletics, IE&E and Black Academic Success and Engagement (BASE), with each department describing their services for 10 to15 minutes. 

"It's my first time planning an event and working alongside the client has been interesting to see how they carry everything out," said Emily Castrechino, a member of the group's executive committee. 

She describes a "litany of subcommittees," each one as important as the next. 

"There are so many little things you wouldn't expect to have to do, but you realize that without it, the event wouldn't be possible." 

Hilary Fontus smiles widely in a headshot, wearing a grey v-neck sweater and her long dark hair in curls

The capstone project helps build the students' portfolio and expertise while providing their peers with crucial information and resources. 

"COVID-19 and navigating all the shutdowns has been hard on students' mental health," said media relations committee member Hilary Fontus. 

Fontus focused on external relations, pitching the event to media outlets and coordinating VIP guests. 

"In Toronto, everyone was locked down longer than the rest of Ontario. This event helps with that," she said. 

Click here to learn more about Humber's Public Relations graduate certificate program.