Four classes raise awareness and more than $3,000 for scholarships
Over the course of three weeks, students in four sections of the Interpersonal Communication offering at Dakota County Technical College took part in a project that raised more than $3,000 for the DCTC Foundation.
Seth Smith, the instructor for the four classes, came up with the basic concept for the project, but the students set all their own goals.
“I assigned the project with a two-pronged approach,” Smith said, “but the students received no other guidelines. They had to think up their own methods of raising money for the Foundation, which provides resource support for students, academic programs, and the college. They also needed to find the means to increase awareness about the important ways the Foundation assists students financially, including scholarships and emergency loans.”
Smith, who also serves as DCTC’s new head softball coach, noted that his students linked 75 new scholarship applicants directly to the project.
“They designed incentives that encouraged previously uninformed students to apply,” he said. “Each class came up with different and creative methods to achieve their fundraising goals. Given the chance, our students will amaze you on a daily basis.”
Sharon LaComb, vice president of institutional advancement, worked with Smith to set up the project. She appreciated the way Smith’s students engaged their assignment with wholehearted determination. “They really worked hard to make the project a success,” she said. “They brought home the Foundation’s message while raising a considerable amount of money to support our mission.”
Trudi Greaves, an assistant director of the Foundation, was also impressed with the resourceful and imaginative ways each class got the job done. “They planned, coordinated, and implemented some complicated ideas in a short amount of time,” Greaves said. “Their enthusiasm proved to be effective both on and off campus.”
A speech class delivered as part of the Human Diversity goal in DCTC’s general education curriculum, Interpersonal Communication explores the practice and theories of human communications in personal, social, and professional situations. Students learn critical thinking and conflict resolution while developing skills in perception and listening as well as verbal and nonverbal expression.
Hope Benson and Cassie Malkow’s class raised the most money, bringing in more than $1,070. Serving as volunteer grocery baggers at Cub Foods in Rosemount, one group of class members made $400 dollars in tips from appreciative customers.
“The shoppers were great,” Benson said, “especially DCTC alumni who happened by and learned we were from the college. Some of those tips were as large as $20.”
Another group in the class put on a successful sweet sale, selling a variety of home-baked goodies at the DCTC Café.
Cassie Malkow’s group opted for something a little chillier. “We were snowboarders,” she said, “so we thought it would be cool to hold a snowboarding competition. We didn’t really think that Buck Hill would go for it, but the event coordinator liked the idea.”
Working with classmates Alex Johnson and Baltazar Estrada, Malkow contacted two ski and snowboard shops in Burnsville, Hoigaard’s and Zombie Boardshop, which donated a selection of quality prizes, including bags, shirts, caps, and coats. Held on December 16, 2007, at the Buck Hill Ski & Snowboard Area in Burnsville, the contest featured 20 competitors and four student judges.
“Considering the short notice, the event turned out pretty well,” Malkow said. “The project made me realize that even though we’re young, we can set our minds to do anything.”
Angie Schwingler and Mandy Ashby’s class raised $786 with a silent auction held on campus in the main commons in mid-December. “We had a great turnout and auctioned off everything,” Schwingler said. “We received donations from 30 businesses in Rosemount, Apple Valley, Lakeville, and Burnsville. We also distributed flyers that gave students the heads-up on scholarships and emergency loans from the Foundation.”
Schwingler enjoyed traveling to business locations on behalf of the Foundation. “People viewed the project as a genuinely worthwhile cause,” she said. “We received great donations, including gift certificates and several excellent gift baskets.”
Charley Alden’s class settled on a raffle to raise money. Working as a team, class members collected $750 employing communication techniques covered in their coursework.
“Businesses provided most of the prizes,” Alden said. “We sold tickets for $1 and gave away month passes to Life Time Fitness, a sweatshirt from the DCTC Bookstore, and lots of food coupons donated by area restaurants.”
Karen Hicks, a food service worker in the DCTC Café, won the raffle’s grand prize, an Xbox 360. Hicks was happy about winning, but admitted that her son and daughter would be getting the most out of the popular video game console.
For Alden, helping out the Foundation was an honor. “This was a fantastic experience,” she said. “The project allowed us to show what we can do.”
Also raising $750, Brendan O’Shaunessey’s class received monetary donations from a dozen area businesses. The class added to that amount by conducting a mobile bake sale, breaking up into two groups to sell cookies and muffins door to door on campus. One student who worked for Domino’s Pizza brought in donated pizzas, which were delivered by the slice in the same manner.
“The project was a good learning experience for everyone,” O’Shaunessey said. “I was glad to help. You know that you’re making a difference in someone’s life even if you never meet them on campus.”
Hope Benson reflected the feelings of her fellow students when she thanked everyone involved for making the project a wonderful success. “We really have to thank Seth, too,” she said. “The project gave us the chance to spread our wings and fly.”