So What’s A Public Anyways?

Image Credit: "Little Thoughts" by Sushanta Meh

A public is any group of identifiable peoples who face a similar situation. A public can be a group of employees, communities, stockholders, governments, members, students, suppliers, donors, or even consumers. There are publics all around us, and our choices will place us in one public or another. For instance, if you choose to attend college, then you are also choosing to become a member of the public, or group of students, who attend that college. I am a member of many publics; sexually, I am a female; religiously, I am a Christian; ethnically, I am white. Although I cannot change my gender or skin color, I can choose many of the other publics I am associated with.

College-wise, I am a member of the Southeastern University public, or community of students. When I chose to attend this school, I became associated with the community who lives and works here. Yet I am also categorized by the state of Florida as someone who attends school within the state boundaries, and nationally as the public of individuals who attend any college or university in the United States. By my one choice to attend SEU, I have been categorized in each of these publics, and easily many more.

Choosing to become a part of the Student Body Leadership Council or SBLC, a club designed to market and plan both on and off campus events, I have consciously placed myself in yet another public. I joined this club under the impression that it would help me grow into a successful event planner since I ultimately want to have a career in this field; so in actuality, I wanted to become a member of this public. When other students see a sign that says sponsored by SBLC it does not mean “sponsored by Emily Bos,” but rather the group of students and administrators who make up this club.

Aside from the publics that I am associated with at school, I have other publics that I belong to at home. Most of these publics are chosen according to my needs and interests. For example, the church I attend, Cornerstone Christian Church, makes me a part of the young adults “public” who constitute the church body. In addition, I am now a member of the alumni “public” of Midland Park High School since I graduated last year. Being a babysitter in the Bergen County area makes me a part of the “public” of the entrepreneurs or care-takers for this region.

Identifying publics can help anyone and everyone to see themselves in the eyes of people they do not know you. It can help an individual to reach a targeted group of people, or even create and change an image of themselves. Just remember to choose carefully which publics you want to be a part of; after all, public associations can be both good and bad!

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