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The student team The Giving Tree organized an event at RiRa's
Irish Pub as its fundraiser.

Students Break Course’s Fundraising Records

Fifteen students in Providence College’s Organizational Theory course raised more than $25,000 for local charities during the spring 2013 semester — the most money the course has raised in the past five years.

Organizational Theory, co-taught by Dr. thomas r. king, associate professor of management, and Amanda Kunevich ’07, a talent manager at Elsevier, Inc., teaches the phenomenon of organization and how to organize effectively.

The course focuses on a team project in which students apply their studies by organizing fundraisers for local charities.

Two student teams, Smith Hill Helpers and The Giving Tree, donated funds to the Smith Hill Community Development Corporation (SHCDC). Two others, Pawing for a Cure and Driving Fore a Cause, raised money for the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State.

In its 10th semester under king, Organizational Theory raised its highest amount of community funds ever. The $25,033 total surpassed the previous high of $17,835 set by students in the fall 2012 class.

The Giving Tree led the way, breaking the record for the most money raised by a single team with $10,668 for the community development corporation.

In addition to the funds raised by the other teams, the students pursued a class-wide project. Class members organized a PC for Boston fundraiser in which they sold T-shirts and donated the proceeds — more than $2,000 — to the Boston Relief Fund.

“The students are the ones who do all of the work and, thus, deserve all of the credit,” said king, whose classes have raised $118,869 in five years. “And the work this semester was extraordinary.”

In order to fundraise, students created different events for their groups. Driving Fore a Cause organized a golf tournament at Button Hole Golf Course, and Pawing for a Cure held an on-campus basketball tournament and made an online donation page.

Smith Hill Helpers held a comedy show in McPhail’s in the Slavin Center and had a raffle. The Giving Tree also held a raffle and had an online donation page. Both teams found companies to match their donations for the SHCDC.

Griffin Rouse ’08, an organizer at the SHCDC, explained that Smith Hill Helpers’ and The Giving Tree’s donations will go largely to a new program called Smith Hill Stewardship. The program employs two youths from Smith Hill who will work throughout the summer to clean the neighborhood.

“The goal is to improve and maintain the aesthetics of the neighborhood, making it easier to incorporate new business and improve economic conditions,” Rouse said.

Rouse also said the SHCDC may partner with PC’s Urban Action students this summer and use part of the donation to focus on making lasting, sustainable changes around Smith Hill.

Reflecting on Organizational Theory

Students enjoyed the class for its different style, its reliance on teamwork, and the impact it made on the Providence community.

“The most rewarding experience in this class is seeing your work in action,” said Maria Pantazelos ’14 (Danvers, Mass.), a member of Pawing for a Cure. “In this class you are tested every day but not in the traditional sense. Instead, you are faced with different challenges you must overcome by applying what you have been learning.”

LeeAnn Esposito ’14 (North Haven, Conn.) of The Giving Tree emphasized how the responsibilities in Organizational Theory are unlike those in other classes.

“This class is nothing like any other courses I’ve taken at PC because it requires every student to operate and commit to each other,” she said. “Everyone needed to be involved or else the organization would fail.”

In addition to learning many useful skills and practical lessons, students enjoyed the class because it blended education with service. Not only did they learn, but they helped others.

“With the exams that come with the typical class structure we’re used to, you get a short-term sense of accomplishment and fulfillment,” said Nik Andrews ’14 (Clarksburg, Mass.) of Driving Fore a Cause. “With this class, you actually saw yourself make a difference in the community.”

 

— Nick Tavares ’16

 

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