Business students raise $3K for Make-A-Wish

Posted on December 04, 2007 by Suzanne Ramsey

During the fall semester, Sweet Briar’s business management lab students raised $3,000.67 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization that grants wishes to seriously ill children.

Fundraising events included a benefit concert on Oct. 18, a Jail-A-Thon Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, a fashion show and silent auction Nov. 13 and a dining hall fast Nov. 14.

The Halloween-themed benefit concert, which was held at the Sweet Briar Boathouse, raised $455 for Make-A-Wish. About 115 people attended, a little more than half of the group’s goal of 200.

According to assistant professor of business Tom Loftus, the concert raised 10 times what the Oxfam dance — a event hosted by last fall’s lab class — took in and drew twice as many people.

The Jail-A-Thon, during which faculty, staff and students paid to have about 100 members of the Sweet Briar community “jailed” in a roped-off area in the Lower Quad, raised $190 for Make-A-Wish.

The cost of incarceration was $1 for five minutes, $2 for 10 minutes and $3 for 15 minutes. To make bail, the detainee had to cough up an equal amount of cash or stay behind bars for the duration of the sentence.

The first detainee, Le Bistro employee Will Fritzler, was held for nearly two hours. “[He] showed up in a black and white striped prisoner uniform,” event organizer Dori Rucker ’09 said.

“He was jailed for a total of one hour and fifty-five minutes from the donations of the Bistro staff and ladies who worked in the library. That was a great way to start off this event!”

The fashion show and silent auction, featuring clothing by Richmond outfitter South Moon Under and make-up by Mary Kay Cosmetics, raised $608. One-hundred sixty people showed up, surpassing the team’s goal of 150.

The event was not without its share of snags, however. The clothing didn’t arrive until the day before the fashion show, and doing makeup for more than a dozen models took longer than expected.

However chaotic at the time, though, it was a learning curve the students were happy to negotiate. Through the process, marketing and PR person Lauren Guyer ’09 said she learned “communications, leadership, and stepping up when you need to and backing off when you need to.”

For Jesse Leiner ’10, event planner and chairperson, it was an opportunity to lead. “Being in a leadership role was definitely something I’d never really done before,” she said. “It was interesting, and I really enjoyed taking all the models to Richmond. That was a very different experience. It was a lot of fun.”

Ann Dowdy, who was in charge of donations, said, “I thought it was really rewarding to see the actual show put together after all of our hard work.”

For the dining hall fast, participants boycotted Sweet Briar’s cafeteria, opting to eat meals provided by area restaurants and the business management students. Money not spent by dining services that day — a whopping $1,714.46 according to event organizer Sarina Catalon ’10 — was donated to Make-A-Wish.

Fifty-nine percent of the student body — 324 students — participated in the fast, along with five faculty and staff.

On Monday, Dec. 3, the business management lab students made their final presentation on the results of the Make-A-Wish project for their professors and other students and members of the Sweet Briar community.

At the end of the presentation, assistant professor Tom Loftus made a spontaneous donation, pushing the final total over the $3,000 mark.

“Overall, I think this has been the most successful semester so far, because we had a good CEO [Micaela Weiss ’09] and a strong executive suite that really stepped up and went beyond what my original expectations were,” assistant professor of business Tom Loftus said.

In particular, he cited the use of 360-degree evaluations, which “provided us with an excellent flow of information on how the groups were functioning. … Each group exceeded their goals in one way or another.”

The quality of the written work, which included reports on two business management texts, also was exceptional, he said. “It’s been a great group, first to last. I look forward to working with them as they move into leadership roles or in my marketing classes.”