By Steffi S. Lee ‘16
When people look back on Simpson College, what do they remember? The Simpson Experience, and the experience all starts with service.
Simpson alumna Emily Salberg ’09 is the reason why people who need clothes are getting them.
The PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) Goodwill Fashion Show is an annual show hosted by the organization on campus. Different students model outfits chosen from the Indianola Goodwill. The goal is to gather as many clothes as possible from Simpson students to contribute to Goodwill.
Salberg and a group of PRSSA students were inspired by a New York PRSSA conference to start a fashion show.
“At the time, I was the secretary and Anthony Warnke was the vice president,” Salberg said. “As we returned to Iowa, we met with different larger chained stores to see if they would be interested in sponsoring the clothes, but no one seemed to trust college kids with their expensive product.”
Salberg and Warnke’s creativity led them to partner with Goodwill to raise awareness and to show college students how to dress professional under a budget.
Salberg currently serves as the event director for Team Player Productions. Team Player Productions creates, produces, manages and markets different events and festivals throughout the nation. Salberg schedules events, books venues, plans events and tackles other tasks.
She says her Simpson Experience got her where she is now. Choosing Simpson was the right step after high school.
“I think when you graduate from high school, you’re a little deer in the headlights and not really sure where you want to go,” she said.
But her visit to Simpson College changed everything. Once she met welcoming professors, Salberg knew Simpson was the place for her.
“(They were) very warm and friendly and full of ideas and advice on where to take my education,” she said. “The part that stuck out to me was that Simpson was a small enough school where I would get guidance, just because I wasn’t 100 percent set on which direction I wanted to go.”
Not only did professors greet her with open arms, but they also discussed her ambitions with her over lunch. Salberg said these interactions guided her in the right direction because she found a place where she could grow. Professors knew how to take her goals to the next level.
Salberg completed a double major in journalism and integrated communications and athletic training. She also balanced leadership positions while taking a heavy course load.
She was senior class president, PRSSA president, involved with Student Government Association, captain of Simpson’s track and field team and captain of the cross country team. She even managed an advice column for The Simpsonian and served as a student ambassador.
“(Simpson) has helped me with the ability to be as involved as I was,” Salberg said. “If you go to a bigger school, you might have to pick one path and stick with it. I can tie in some of my sports backgrounds and athletic trainings backgrounds with the race that I am directing (at Team Player Productions), but my communications double major and my time with PRSSA let me know I wanted to be in the events world.”
Simpson also offered Salberg opportunities outside of the classroom.
“For the athletic department, I also had a coaching endorsement and an exercise science minor, so they encouraged an internship under John Sirianni,” she said.
Salberg also completed a public relations and events internship with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, where she wrote press releases and managed donations.
She says her professors always supported her through her activities, building an even stronger Simpson Experience.
“(Professors) Mike Hadden and Nicci Whalen just kind of really acted like your second parents,” she said. “They were always so supportive and always encouraging you to find your own way. It’s why I felt like (Simpson) could be like a home. That really enhanced my education.”
Her communications professors encouraged her as well.
“(Former) professor Tracy Lucht pretty much pushed me down the path of continuing my second major of communications,” she said. “Brian Steffen was great too. He always got you involved outside of the classrooms, through internships or any other journalism stuff. Whether or not you were going down a path with your story that was going to be rocky, he was there to make sure that you really did pursue it.”
Salberg said she is successful today because professors were genuine about achieving her goals and were willing to offer her their contacts for prospective jobs. With Simpson only 12 miles away from Des Moines, opportunities were always endless.
Salberg took the initiative during her time at Simpson, and created an ongoing, service-oriented tradition in the process. She hopes the event will last for years to come.
“I don’t know if I went to a bigger school I would have been able to be as involved in a lot of different areas as I got to be,” she said.