Students of University of Muhammadiyah Malang (UMM) again won national achievement. Lifiya Sandra Erlina and Indri Diah CW who both of them were students of Communication Sciences and Muhammad Abdul Manan who was student of International Relations, won the first winner in event Public Relations Olympiad "The Annual Nation Wide PR Celebration". The event held by UK Petra Surabaya took place on Wednesday-Thursday, (11/18-19).
Inter-university competition in this contest was considered very tight. All universities must go through three stages, namely PR campaign, PR debate and PR in crisis. UMM team started by creating a PR Campaign in the form of a proposal titled "The Changing the Negative Public Paradigm toward HIV/AIDS Issues" and was qualified for the next stage. Four teams which were stated to be qualified were UMM, Petra Christian University I, Petra Christian University II and UPN Bandung. "The second and third stages were the most severe stages but very exciting for us because they tested our mental," said Sandra proudly.
This annual competition was more prestigious because it brought the juries who were expert in their fields. They were President of PR Society of Indonesia, Magdalena Wenas, PR of JW Marriot Surabaya, Wike Trisnandhini, Cyber PR Practitioner, Ventura Elisawati and Chair Center of Leadership and External Development of UK Petra, Ronny Mustamu.
"Facing four well-known juries and experts could make us mentally inferior but then our mentality raised to prove that UMM is the best. We were familiar with competition, even we experienced the harder ones," said Sandra who was also Chief of Student Executive Board of Faculty of Social and Political Science.
Sandra and her two friends began to believe to be a winner, especially when the jury declared them obtaining the highest score at debate session. In fact, in the midst of busy as Chief of Student Executive Board, her preparation was very minimal. She only read a few literatures and famous PR theories and asked her lecturers. "We also learn from Mr. Nas (Nasrullah, Head of UMM Public Relation), to gain experience and deal with negative issues about the public relation crisis. Thank God all of them are very useful," explained Sandra.
Furthermore, Sandra stated, UMM team must argue with UK Petra I and UPN Bandung. When confronted with UK Petra I UMM debated mass media publicity through press agency as the most effective way in an effort to create public awareness in NGO hotline. As a contra-team, UMM stated, press agency is just as a publicity medium and it provides one-way approach information. "The development of PR is no longer simply providing information to the public, but also establishing reciprocal relations and two-way communication," she added.
Sandra then explained her knowledge of PR model described by Grunig and Hunt (1994), about two-way symmetric. Ideally, PR does not only provide information but also require information from the public as a reference for public relations strategy. "Two-way communication continuously to prevent isolation and build harmonious relations", she concluded.
PR in crisis became the last stage. Each team was given a case of PR crisis in an NGO and it must be presented.
UMM became the first winner beating the host and organizers, UK Petra which won the second place and UPN Bandung in the third place. This accomplishment added rows of UMM students’ achievements at national level. (rka/t_alf)