Conestoga news

May 2, 2016 7:52 AM

PR students raise $30,000 for local charities

Thanks to a series of very successful fundraising events held by students in Conestoga’s Public Relations diploma and degree programs, $30,000 will be directed to local charities.

The fundraising provided experiential learning opportunities for the students who were required to apply project management and event planning principles to design and execute events in just three months with a starting budget of $0.

“We learned a lot from the experience,” said PR diploma student Stephanie Wilson, who worked with a team of students to raise funds for the Kinbridge Community Association in Cambridge. “We learned how to deal effectively with a crisis, what to do and what not to do when it comes to approaching potential sponsors, how to work together in a group, how to manage our time efficiently, and that no matter how much you plan and prepare there are always small things that arise that you cannot expect.”

In total, the PR diploma students raised $15,000 through their events and proceeds were directed to a number of charities. The PR degree students raised another $15,000 and donated all proceeds to the Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region for the rebuild of Haven House, a 45-bed shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence and abuse in the Region of Waterloo.

The Haven House rebuild is a $9.4 million project currently underway in Cambridge. PR students raised $9,000 for the shelter in 2015, bringing the total funds directed to the project up to $24,000.

PR degree student Jessica Maure worked with four other students to plan and execute the Everyday Heroes Gala and Silent Auction, which they held at Homewood Suites in Cambridge. “Everyday Heroes was the name and theme for our event because we learned the women staying at the shelter understood what it meant to fight for their lives and the well-being of not only themselves, but their children as well,” explained Maure. “The women and children are very brave and so are the people who have stepped in to try and lend a hand to make a difference.”

Maure’s team set out to raise $2,000, with 60 guests and 20 silent auction items, but in the end raised $5,100, hosted 80 guests and secured 35 auction items.

“What I learned was not to be afraid to reach out and step out of your comfort zone," said Maure. “Everything that happens, good and bad, is a learning experience that will help you in the future - not only at school but in your career.” Maure said she also learned the importance of networking and using resources you have available.

“The results are extraordinary,” said faculty member Dave Barrett, who worked with the degree students through their fundraising activities. “These events confirm the belief that students learn the most by doing. It’s a fantastic learning opportunity and makes the connection back to the course work."

Faculty members Paula Barrett, Susan Chilton and Patricia Uribe also worked with the students involved.

Conestoga’s School of Media & Design delivers both a two-year diploma program and a four-year degree program in Public Relations. For more information, visit the School of Media and Design.