The word "family" has a lot of meanings. At the very core, the concept defines one aspect of our identity: our lineage. Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote that legacy is akin to "planting seeds in a garden you never get to see." For Drucella Robinson-Perkins, continuing her father’s legacy required more than a few new seeds. It required a whole new garden.

Dru Robinson-Perkins, originally from Sikeston, Missouri, graduated from Southeast in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in general studies. The Robinson family believed to achieve success their sons would learn to become hard workers and their daughters would attend college. That strategy served Dru well as she began her life and career.

When she found herself at a crossroads, she heard a voice nudging her to a new adventure. One that would require the partnership and support of all 11 of her siblings in a leap of faith to honor their lineage and sow a whole new story for the next generation. 

Next Generation of Learning

As the Robinson family set off on the journey with their new business venture, they returned to a familiar place for help. Southeast Missouri State University was the alma mater for Dru Robinson-Perkins and her husband, and a public relations course offered answsers to how best to promote the family's new business.

"Dr. Sarah Cavanah, of SEMO, reached out about her public relations captsone class, and I said yes, because I'm a SEMO alumni," said Robinson-Perkins. "So I was like, I would love to to partner with her and to do something. And we were in in need of looking at how we promote ourselves. And we wanted to make sure that we could get ourselves out there in the best manner. I think a lot of times when you're starting a business, you budget for everything else and you put this budget down for marketing and all that good stuff, and then other things happen, you're like, Oh, where do I take money from?"

MC434 is a public relations course which gives students the capstone assignment of developing a PR and promotion plan for a real business. The class is divided into three to four teams, with four students on each team serving in roles from creative director to account representative. The team hears from the client about goals and challenges and then develops a public relations plan. Each team presents their plan before the client and fields questions. Businesses can use any or all of the assets provided by students. 

"I am excited that they did such an amazing job. They created these awesome presentations that my family was allowed to be a part of. And I think they learned so much. And I think this is going to be something that's going to continue to catapult us," said Robinson-Perkins. "We would love to to continue the relationship that we've built with SEMO and with Dr. Cavanah and to continue to be of service however we can to the University."

Class projects like MC434 provide invaluable real-world learning experience for students and assist businesses, often that have a connection to Southeast, with new ideas and needed PR and advertising support.