Sharing Common Ground

What cultures know about common sense are usually only relevant to their specific culture or community. Obviously, this is not to say this applies to everyone, but it is more of a generalization of common cultures. People are afraid to step outside of their own bubbles. Though this is understandable, it is something that needs to be overcome by the majority. If we continue to only immerse ourselves in one type of culture or community, how are we supposed to be well-rounded individuals?

Being a first-born generation in America, while my parents and majority of family were born and raised in Italy, I feel that I have had an advantage of exposure to a different type of culture. As I currently still have family in Italy, I feel I am able to gain a greater perspective on certain aspects. Even though in my past, I did not go to Italy regularly, I still feel that because of my parents, I have been at an advantage socially. My mother is very much in her own Italian culture, while my father always will as well, but he has been educated much more than my mother. Since he came to America when he was 13, he was able to attend school and college for some time, but my mom came to America at age 20 and she did not end up going to college. This is not to conclude that she is not a well-rounded individual.

I can relate to a reference of Dalai Lama that the authors made. I am someone who believes in more of a universal approach to things. When religion becomes a factor into conflicts, there is always going to be a push and pull, in my opinion. People are brought up in different ways and life styles that they become extremely accustom to, and do not want to let go of their experiences. This is the one thing we do have to let go of, though. I feel that if you don’t let go of the way you think or how you perceive something, how do you figure out someone else’s perspective on this? I am not saying that you have to disregard your perception from your own experiences, but to just pause and take a step back. Recognize your perspective, and then try to take it in a whole new way, by letting somebody else explain how they ‘see it’ to you.

As the authors stated, “Because shared cultural elements are felt deeply and often held unconsciously, they exert powerful pressure toward unity, cohesion, and community.” (Page 222). I believe this is extremely important when it comes to sharing your own culture with another person’s culture, which may be similar in some ways, as well as very different. I think this is important because I have strong beliefs that this type of mutual understanding between different cultures can lead to unity and a sense of whole communities.

The authors defines moral exclusion as, “outside the boundary in which moral values, rules and considerations of fairness apply.” (Page 230). My question is, how do you determine concretely that somebody is to be morally excluded? I know that this has to do with different degrees of rightness and wrongness, but sometimes things can get foggy. Some people would find it alright to morally exclude someone because they believe in a different religion. Though, is this moral in itself? I wouldn’t think so. I believe that open-mindedness, patience, and experience are of essence to becoming well-rounded.

Ethics in Human Communication, Sixth Edition. Authors:
Richard L. Johannesen, Kathleen S. Valde, Karen E. Whedbee


Student PR Firm Receives National Recognition


GrandPR, Grand Valley State University’s student-run public relations firm, was granted national affiliation recognition by the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) for the second time since establishment in 2007. Out of more than 100 student-run firms across the nation, only 40 have been granted this recognition.

National Affiliation is a “stamp of approval” from the national PRSSA headquarters, recognizing student-run firms who excel in three areas: a solid PRSSA/Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) connection, a high level of professionalism and an effective structure.

“We are honored to have received this recognition,” said GrandPR CEO Daltyn Little. “GrandPR is a unique opportunity for GVSU students, and having the confidence of PRSSA National behind us will only encourage us to push harder and further to make our educational experiences at GVSU the best they can be.”

GrandPR was established in 2007 by a group of students in the Advertising and…

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Environmental Sustainability, Communication & Ethics

            Within the topic of environmental sustainability, I believe there is a great factor of controversy that brings up ethical questions.  Sustainable communication groups industries in three staging groups; the “Leading Players”, automotive, forestry, and chemicals; the “Emerging Players” include mining, energy, and technology; while the “Lagging Players” are made up of financial services and media/entertainment. These groupings could create the possibility of ethical issues and determining environmental alternatives.

            “Sustainability is the constant process of obtaining the same or better living conditions, for a group of people and their successors in a given ecosystem.” (Carasso & Matson, 1999).  Consequently, sustainability is viewed as a continuous process. With a constant process, it can leave behind great provision for the next generations to come.

            “In the new 21st century, the term sustainability is often added to emphasize the continuing and long-lasting character of change over time. The study of communication for development and sustainable social change has therefore been through several paradigmatic changes.” (Servaes & Lie, 2013). Since sustainability has become a notion of study, it has brought out topics related to responsibility within environmental issues, social issues, governance, and economic impacts. When discussing sustainability, major aspects that we come across include managing environments, health, and safety issues globally. These aspects are all extremely important matters in decision-making, not only in our present time now, but in the future. One choice now could be helpful currently, but things always have to be examined in a long-term effort. One decision could vastly impact what the future holds.

            How environmental sustainability impacts other areas of interest lies within the simple fact that if we don’t have an environment that is sustainable, we cannot continue to use or create new products or ideas in the future. Eventually, we will run out of the non-renewable resources we use at a rapid rate, and on top of that- create issues for the future generations that will take our places.

            “One of the central problems is that a focus on ethical consumption at a solely personalized level tends to displace responsibility from governments and corporations to individuals while effacing the global political-economic determinants that structure people’s daily lifestyle ‘choices’.” (O’Hara, 1998). These personal analyses of ethics can vary in a number of different perspectives. In order to create a healthier, ethical environment, the ideal would be to change our frame of mind from personal to a collective responsibility of choices. This would include a shift in social change.

            “Above all the information systems, social institutions and economic values must correspond to the environmental values in its ethical dimension.” (Matson & Carasso, 1999). When corporations, businesses and the people surrounding these environments do not follow a standard code of principles, things can get out of hand very quickly.  We need the resources the earth provides us with and when we take them for granted, it becomes more difficult to un-do what’s already been done.  The main concern every business and organization should undergo is whether or not the decision being made will lead to a better, safer, more sustainable environment for those currently living, but most importantly for those future generations to come.

            It is hard to pinpoint exactly how you would resolve ethical issues because it always depends upon the subject being discussed. As someone who is very much interested and concerned in the future life generations of all beings, I think that the world needs a shift in their core values. By this, I mean that everybody’s number one value should be of the earth. With already having an overwhelming amount of wasteful areas and pollutants, it is hard for people to even understand what environmentalists see as a huge problem, an issue at all. I believe that if we educate the public in such a way, it can begin to take a turn in understanding the actual effects that human beings plant on the environment. After all, this is the ground we walk on!












Matson, R. J., & Carasso, M. (1999). Sustainability, energy technologies, and ethics.    Renewable Energy, Vol. 16, Issues 1-4. Retrieved from   

O’Hara, S.,U. (1998). Economics, ethics and sustainability: Redefining connections.    International Journal of Social Economics, 25(1), 43-62. Retrieved from               id=39473

Servaes, J., & Lie, R. (2013). Sustainable social change and communication. Communication Research Trends, 32(4), 4-30. Retrieved from

Vaitheeswaran, V. V. (2007). OIL. Foreign Policy, (163), 24-26,28,30. Retrieved from               id=39473



PR Definitions Past & Present

            In the beginning of this year, my blog about public relations reflections included what I thought public relations was, without researching anything about it. What I have said was, “I reflect upon public relations as the idea of networking and getting ideas, thoughts, comments, suggestions, and more out in the open; where people can then analyze and prioritize among them.” I believe this to still be a true factor within the definition of public relations. Though, throughout the year I have learned about PR in much more depth. I learned the multiple different factors that are included within a public relations campaign and how to create, execute, and assess things in the proper way. I have also learned how to identify the difference between strategies and tactics much more thoroughly than what my original thoughts and ideas consisted of.

            Public relations entails a great deal of organization and management within all different positions people may acquire. “The most common definitional components appear to be “management,” “organization,” and “publics.” Practitioner definitions tend to focus on “management,” “organization,” and “publics” as well.” (Hutton, 1999). This probably makes sense to most people in the PR field considering their duties may relate to managing one thing or another, which requires organization, and of course you can’t have public relations without the publics.

            Another way to think about public relations is to think of it within the behaviors of people as a result of PR. “One vehicle that provides such an alternative basis for conceptualizing public relations is the symbolic interactionism of Herbert Blumer.” (Gordon, 1997). To think of public relations within a symbolic interaction is quite awkward at first. But if you think about it, PR images are everywhere. It is especially hard to avoid these images when they are constantly popping up everywhere you go. Not only is it difficult to just avoid being exposed to these images, but it is also very hard to completely ignore the images. One way or another, many images can take a toll on a person. They can be influenced by symbolism of one item, culture, idea, or another. People have their own opinions and favorite symbols, including brands and logos within clothes, companies, or other types of marketing.

            The media is constantly exposing us to a great amount of images and ideas. Public relations has a vast, yet very specific definition, or definitions for that matter. Unless you examine all parts of PR, it is hard to create a concrete definition because of the many different aspects it contains. I believe PR consists of organization, management, and publics, as well as the idea of symbolic interaction. All of these ideas can have a role within each other. In fact, it seems difficult to have management without organization, or to have symbolic interaction without publics. As you can see, it is clear that public relations contains a wide range of concepts. Though, as extensive as these concepts may be, it is clear the ideas are significant factors to one another.

Innovation Techniques Royalty Free Stock Vector Art Illustration



Gordon, J.C. (1997). Interpreting definitions of public relations: Self assessment and a symbolic interactionism-based alternative. Public Relations Review. Vol. 23 i.1, 57-66.

Hutton, J.G. (1999). The definition, dimensions, and domain of public relations. Public Relations Review. Vol. 25 i.2, 199-214.

School Suspends Teen Boy for Carrying Purse. Why?

Suspended for a PURSE? Really? In Italy men use and wear handbags. What’s wrong with America?

Dr. Rebecca Hains

For several weeks, an eighth-grade boy outside of Kansas City has been expressing his individuality by carrying a floral-print Vera Bradley purse. But yesterday, his assistant principal demanded he remove it. The boy refused, and he was immediately suspended from school.

This raises a question: Why is it a problem for a boy to carry a purse instead of a backpack if he wants to? By breaking gender stereotypes, he’s not hurting anyone. Instead, he’s showing the world that he has good self-esteem and self-confidence—that he is secure his identity.

Unfortunately, his school administrators’ actions show that they want to force a 13-year-old kid into stereotypical masculinity. Apparently, they value gender conformity over creativity and individuality.

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