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Charity event offers students real-world experience

Falcon News Service

December 15, 2022

An estimated 1,800 articles of clothing worth more than $8,700 were collected by UW-River Falls marketing communications students during their second annual gift and thrift event on Dec. 5 in the university’s Falcon’s Nest.

One way that donations were gathered was through boxes set up in university residence halls, said Associate Professor David Bonko, director of the marketing communications program.

“That turned out to be 30-40% of our donations this year,” he said.

The event was set up through a sales and promotions course, stated Bonko.

“It’s a class event that they (students) have been planning,” he said. “I used to have them plan a fake event, and then I realized that we could plan a real one.”

One student from the course is Maddy Eastin, a marketing communications major.

“I think it’s a really great opportunity for marketing communications students,” she said. “We are getting hands-on experience in event planning.”

All the proceeds from the event went towards Adoray Home Health and Hospice, a nonprofit health agency in Baldwin, Wisconsin, that provides “expert physical, emotional and spiritual support to patients and families through the stages of serious illness,” according to the organization’s website.

“We (students) chose this organization mainly because we wanted to help hospice patients during the Christmas season,” Eastin said. According to Bonko, students choose which organization the proceeds go to each year.

“This provides them with direct experience,” said Bonko. “By experiencing the opportunity to work with a charity trains a mindset of serving the community, which is important.”

Along with the gift and thrift, the event included a silent auction and holiday crafts, Bonko stated.

“The silent auction donations are primarily from local businesses,” he said. Eastin donated a Minnesota Wild ticket for the silent auction.

“I am proud of what the students have accomplished,” Bonko said.

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