Public relations group works to engage Whitworth with the Spokane community

by Sasha Siclait

Many students on Whitworth’s campus have heard a reference or two to pinecone-related phrases, such as “the Pinecone Curtain” or “catch a virgin pinecone,” but have you heard of Beyond the Pines?

Beyond the Pines is a student-run Public Relations firm on campus that was established last year by a group of students along with professor Erica Salkin of the communication studies department.

Three students co-founded Beyond the Pines: junior Madison Garner, senior Samantha Pridemore and senior Bri Miller. The firm has eight members involved this year.

“While it is student run, we still have a safety net of Dr. Salkin who has tons of knowledge and experience in PR,” Garner said. “You feel comfortable trying new projects you likely wouldn’t feel comfortable trying in an internship or class because you have the support system of Dr. Salkin and the other students.”

Beyond the Pines is broken up into three departments that focus on specific tasks. The creative department focuses primarily on writing and designing flyers, logos, etc. and any kind of print or electronic materials that will be distributed. The account management department connects the students, the organization and the logistical department, which is more research-focused.

Students are able to serve on multiple departments and participate as much or as little as they would like.

“Unlike a class or an internship where you are going to have busy work or do projects that don’t relate to your future career, Beyond the Pines allows you to have full control of what clients you work with, what projects you do, and how much time you spend,” Garner said. “It allows you to work with a variety of clients in a variety of ways.”

Last year, Beyond the Pines worked with Generation Alive and the Spokane Humane Society, both located in the Spokane area. This year, the number of clients has increased to five—the Peace Corp, Mead School District Orchestra, Liberty Park Kids, Spokane Fire District and Friends of Mimofra.

“[Our goal] is to engage with the Spokane community,” junior Logan Shenkel of the creative department said. “So often we look at Whitworth and see how we can benefit here and with Beyond the Pines we are supposed to take that title literally and look at how we can engage with the greater Spokane community.”

Beyond the Pines meets every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Weyerhaeuser room 102 and students of all majors can join.

“Students should become involved because it’s not only really fun, but a really valuable experience,” Garner said.

“I think the people in the group are great and they are there because they want to be,” Shenkel said.“I think students can learn a lot from it and not only about PR, but a lot about themselves as well.”

If students would like more information, they can contact Madison Garner at

Contact Sasha Siclait at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *