URI graduate leaves her mark and the university

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East Greenwich resident was president of Student Alumni Assoc.

KINGSTON, R.I. – May 9, 2007 – University of Rhode Island senior Jessica Rusack has made it a point to become active at her university and will now graduate with the satisfaction that she has given others the same opportunity.

In April, URI students’ e-mail boxes became filled with information about the activities available on campus. RhodyWire, the first e-mail newsletter of its kind, was Rusack’s senior honors project.

“I had heard some students complaining that there is nothing to do on campus,” Rusack explained. “As a student leader, I know that is not true, and I wanted to let people know. RhodyWire allows organizations to promote their events and get into the inboxes of students. We check our e-mail all the time so it’s the best way to get information.”

The 21-year-old from East Greenwich originally came to URI for what she calls “the Rhody spirit” that was passed on to her from her mother who received her undergraduate degree from the university.

Rusack also attributes her pride in URI to her involvement with the Student Alumni Association. She has been on the selective association for three years, planning campus events and providing activities to connect students and alumni. She served as president of the association this past year. She also served on the executive board the year before as Oozeball chair, where she planned the spring “volleyball in the mud” tournament for students.

“SAA is the best thing I have done here,” Rusack said. “My neighbor founded SAA and told me the day I moved to college that I had to join, and if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have met some of my best friends.”

Rusack works 10 hours in between classes in the Alumni Relations office, just around the corner from the Student Alumni Association’s office. Rusack said that she enjoys working in the Alumni building because she is ready and available for both her employers and her organization.

Balancing her job, her involvement and her studies, she has maintained a 3.66 grade point average. She is a member of the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. A woman with many interests, Rusack is a double major in public relations and Spanish and has also completed a minor field of study in textiles, merchandising and design.

Planning for RhodyWire began in January and the project became a reality on April 2. After graduation, Rusack is leaving RhodyWire in the hands of the Public Relations Society, a student-run organization that she co-founded last year and for which she served as treasurer.

As for her own future, Rusack plans to travel before settling into her career. As part of her coursework in the Spanish language department, she studied in Salamanca, Spain for a semester.

She has experience working for North Star Marketing in North Kingstown, where she first became familiar with e-mail marketing, and Hasbro Inc. in Pawtucket. She is looking to follow a career in public relations and hopes to use her college experiences to acquire a job with a PR agency in a city like New York or Boston.

URI News Bureau photo by Michael Salerno Photography