Students create Sonoma State’s first public relations firm

When the idea was made to house a student-run public relations firm within the communication studies department at Sonoma State, the feedback amongst the communications students and community was seen as an encouraging step in the right direction with developing a new student outlet.

The proposal came about with the idea of replacing the prior course work from past years of the upper division COMS 340 Advanced Public Relations and replacing it with the new student-run PR firm. 

This proposal became effective immediately at the beginning of the spring 2014 semester. 

Starting a new business deals with the complicated factors of time, funding, communication and organization. 

Not only has this student-led company achieved all of these factors successfully within the few weeks it has been given, but its success and plans as a new PR firm reflects current and future generations. 

“We’re one of 26 student-run PR firms in the country, which puts us in elite company. I came up with Primitivo initially because I wanted a name that was unique to our area, but also because of its sophisticated and professional recognition,” said Primitivo faculty adviser Emily Acosta Lewis. 

The name Primitivo was voted on after multiple rounds of decision making, as the name to represent the firm. 

With pun intended “PR” and local wine culture, it was a fit distinctively made to be recognizable among the community.  

“The ultimate goal for the firm is to give COMS students the opportunity to get hands-on experience with real life clients, which goes beyond anything you’re able to get in a traditional classroom. We hope to provide all students with the knowledge of communication strategies and effective PR tactics,” said Primitivo General Manager Kevin Kinder.  

With minimal funding during the first semester of the firm, multiple fundraisers were established with many local businesses supporting the success of the firm. 

Thus far, Primitivo has had success in teaming up with Swirl Time and Extreme Pizza, with near future fundraisers planned at the local Mountain Mikes Pizza and Lagunitas Brewing Company. 

Primitivo is offering the opportunity to improve and provide a plan of growth for any local organization that seeks professional methods. Currently the firm is in the process of working with both the communications and kinesiology departments, as well as taking over Swirl Time’s social media presence.

“Because we are a new firm, we are driven to provide our clients with nothing but the top results. We are not content with average work and strive to exceed our potential with every project that we take on,” said Kinder.

 Primitivo representatives met with Dean Thaine Sterns of the Arts and Humanities department, a representative of the Green Music Center, and a few other individuals on Thursday with the goal of having Sonoma State be recognized as a university that emphasizes the importance of theatre and art.

“We will be working with [the GMC] to increase the presence of theater and arts as a study and leisure on this campus. This includes helping promote events to the student body and, more specifically, hopefully planning more concerts and performances better geared toward the interests of the student body,” said Primitivo General Manager Paige McReynolds.

There is a sense of urgency from the SSU community to get students more involved. Primitivo’s long-term plan is to create a culture of theatre and art amongst the university while providing students with an experience that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. 

Students should expect to see changes being implemented as early as Freshmen Orientation for fall 2014.

Primitivo is heading in the right direction with well established clients, tactics and social media presence and this is only the beginning of what we will see to come from this student led organization. 

For more information on Primitivo, like them on Facebook,; view the website at; follow the company on Twitter at @PRPrimitivo; e-mail for additional information

Disclaimer: Features Editor Amanda Levine is involved in the Primitivo public relations firm.