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A Year in the Life of Cygnet PR

WOW! What a year it has been for Cygnet PR! This blog post is a highlights reel of the last 9 months, and also a chance for some of the Board who are graduating to say goodbye. Lauren Wood (President), Megan Winzer (Vice-President) and Jay Nyang (Operations Director) are all graduating this year, and it's safe to say they will miss Cygnet and the team a lot! Find a note from Lauren at the end of this post - now, ON WITH THE SHOW!

September 2017 - The end of our opening month as the new board of Cygnet PR saw the University of Lincoln hold their very first LiGHTS Expo, a jam-packed day of talks, demos and interactive displays focusing on science and technology within Lincoln. Cygnet PR sent a crack team along to cover the event on social media, and they generated a 'buzz' around the event by utilising several different social media platforms, conducting informal interviews with participants and interacting with the exhibits themselves.

Above - local schoolchildren eagerly volunteer to try out some virtual reality software at September's LiGHTS expo.

September was a busy month with everyone starting out on their individual projects, all eager to make sure this academic year was one of Cygnet's best ever!

October 2017 - October saw one of our most successful projects this year, Oxfam, celebrating their 75th birthday! The group from Cygnet, lead by

President Lauren Wood, helped the Oxfam Bookshop to commemorate 75 years and the alleviation of poverty by increasing community engagement. A press release and multimedia content were created to encourage the local community and Oxfam supporters to come to the newly opened Oxfam Bookshop for cake, a giant human Oxfam logo stunt and activities to create discussion around Oxfam's mission.

November 2017 - In November, a team from Cygnet went to visit the Real Junk Food Project in Leicester. They spent the day filming a series of promotional videos for the project, which takes food that would otherwise go to landfill and uses it to feed people through their cafes and pop-up events. The day was certainly a highlight of the year for the team members, who all really enjoyed themselves!

November also saw Cygnet work with Carers First on a #CarersRightsDay event. Cygnet attended the event as part of an ongoing project with Carers First, and delivered social media content for the day as well as shooting some promotional video footage.

Above - Carers First CEO Adam Rowe talks to attendees at the #CarersRightsDay.

December 2017 - In the run up to Christmas, Cygnet showed no signs of slowing down, with eleven separate projects running! In December we held a joint Christmas jumper social with the PR Society, which was very festive! We also worked with Lincoln's Alternative Christmas Market to provide news releases and social media support for the event.

The Oxfam team also provided promotional support for the shop's Late Night Christmas Shopping events in the lead up to Christmas.

Lauren (President) and Megan (Vice-President) also delivered a presentation on what Cygnet PR is, what we do and how the skills we learn are helping us with our degrees to the School of English and Journalism Industry Panel. This went very well and hopefully we impressed the board with our work!

January 2018 - Over the Christmas holidays our projects continued to run full steam ahead, with another client being taken on, making a total of 12 separate campaigns!

The Cygnet website was given a makeover by our Cygnet Board, with other plans for promotional materials in the pipework!

February 2018 - February saw two very exciting guest speakers attend our meetings, Natasha Wright of Wyldfire PR and Andy Green, creativity expert and all round PR guru!

Natasha spoke after our meeting about her journey into starting her own agency, and gave some very useful advice to the third years about getting started in PR and the value of work experience! We were very lucky that she gave her time to come and speak to us. Cygnet PR benefits from a wealth of guest speakers who come and share their knowledge after meetings!

Andy Green came to Lincoln to deliver several lectures, one on creativity (involving paper airplanes being thrown around the room!) after our Cygnet meeting, and another at a networking event held in the evening. We thoroughly enjoyed Andy's clear passion for PR and he gave us some valuable insight into the PR job market. We clearly made an impression on him as he described Lincoln as "the most likeable place I've come across!"

Above - Andy Green in animated conversation with our senior lecturer in Public Relations, Douglas Brown, at the networking event.

March 2018 - Despite the snow, Cygnet PR showed no signs of slowing down, with filming taking place at LEAP for a promotional video being one of the highlights of the month. Cygnet supported LEAP with their branding and produced content for their website.

Above - One of our Board Members, Alanna Halsall, interviewing a LEAP member of staff.

Later in March we had three Cygnet alumni come back to talk to us about the role that Cygnet PR played in getting started with their careers. Callie, Rebecca and Megan all reinforced the message that work experience is vital, and they thanked Cygnet for giving them the opportunity to learn skills whilst they studied. Hopefully this time next year some of our Cygnet Board will be back to talk about their experiences getting jobs!

April 2018 - This month the importance of Cygnet was really being felt. Projects were starting to wind down, letters of thanks were being received, and reflection started for some of the team members. This year has been another very successful one for Cygnet, with more members than ever attending meetings on a regular basis, and a real team ethos being fostered.

Kieran, one of our Board members, wrote a blog post about the importance of Cygnet PR and how he has found his time working with LEAP. Cygnet is all about giving students that real-life PR experience, including when things maybe don't go exactly how you planned!

May 2018 - Despite May supposedly being the last month of University before the summer, it was our busiest month!

Megan and Alanna, two of our Board members, started an internship with Mansions of the Future, a new cultural hub for Lincoln, where they provided social media support, talked to journalists about the scheme, gave tours of the building and even made a cup of tea for Harry Potter actress Bonnie Wright!

Above - sitting in on an interview with Bonnie Wright, who was in Lincoln to talk about her short film, Medusa's Ankles, premiered as part of Mansions of the Future, a new arts scheme in Lincoln.

May also saw us let our hair down and have a wonderful night of celebration at the end of the third years time at University! Awards were given by Cygnet for Best Newcomer, Operations Director of the Year, and the Chairs Award! It was a fantastic evening, and a great way to recognise the hard work of all of the Cygnet team over the past year!

Above - the third year PR students, and some of our Cygnet Board!

One of our long running projects, the Oxfam Lincoln Bookshop, also had it's first birthday, and we were there to celebrate with lots of cake! A video was made showing all the highlights of the shop's first year. The shop team loved it!

Our last big event that Cygnet PR worked with was the Festival of Creativity at the University, at the end of May. The fortnight event was a celebration of the University's College of Arts students degree work. It was a fantastic time engaging with the talented students and the inspiring, creative work to create social media content over the two weeks.

June 2018 - In June the years work was very nearly completed. The Oxfam Lincoln Bookshop team created some multimedia content for Volunteers Week to celebrate and thank all the shop volunteers for the work they do.

A note from Lauren Wood, President of Cygnet PR:

Looking back, I am incredibly proud of how much brilliant work we have done this year with no slowing down towards the end of the year after our studies finished!

Thank you to everyone who has volunteered to provide PR support to local non-profit organisations alongside their studies. Together we have delivered PR campaigns for over 10 organisations within just 9 months!

I would also like to thank our clients who support us to support them. With Public Relations being a very practical discipline, we are thankful for the opportunities you give us to develop our 'PR toolkit' alongside our studies.

Last but not least, thank you to our fab Megan (Vice-President) firstly for writing this blog post and for always being full of energy and ideas to keep Cygnet PR operating at it's best.

To all future Cygnets, I hope you continue to create your own opportunities and go after them. The time to develop and practice your skills is never more relevant than now. PR is always changing. There will always be more room in the toolkit!

Lauren, Cygnet PR President 17/18

Author: Megan Winzer (Vice-President)

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