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CCU Atheneum: Some 382 students from business and University 110 classes worked to gather donations and raise money for Fostering Hope.
Some 382 students from business and University 110 classes worked to gather donations and raise money for Fostering Hope.

CCU students give hope through community service projects

by Marissa Fuline
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Nearly 600 Coastal Carolina University students have been working hard this fall to give back to the local community by gathering donations to fill more than 300 backpacks with school supplies, bicycles and clothing for the children of Fostering Hope.

First Year Experience (FYE) classes in two colleges, University College and the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration, have been working on this project that originated two years ago with Paula Lippert, the administrative coordinator for University College. This is the second year that the University College has collected donations, and the Wall College’s first year. The donations were delivered to CCU alumna Tabby Shelton, the director of Fostering Hope, a nonprofit organization that provides goods and services to children in foster care in Horry, Georgetown, Marion and Dillon counties.

Lippert came up with the idea in a board meeting for University College. Lippert knew Shelton, a former student worker in her department, and decided it would be a unique opportunity to involve students in the Fostering Hope organization. She implemented the idea as a competition between classes; the winning class would earn a free breakfast or pizza party. “I see it as such a worthy cause, we are helping as many kids as we can,” said Lippert.

Michele Everett, a lecturer in interdisciplinary studies, worked with Lippert on the project. “This year the project fits in with our University 110 theme of building a strong community,” she said.

More than 200 University College students were split into teams and given a list of items to include in care packages. The students gathered 216 bags of needed items to donate as well as $310 in cash donations along with three bags of clothes.

Cara Scheuer, assistant professor of management, also wanted to give her students a real world project. Scheuer brought her Management 309 class students (mostly juniors and seniors) together with freshman students in University 110 business classes. Jointly, 382 students were separated into 52 teams that collected items for Fostering Hope.

“I wanted the students to understand how to devise plans to get the items and fundraise, as well as learn to meet the challenges that come with leading a team,” said Scheuer.

Each team was assigned to fill two backpacks for two kids in need. “I thought that the students should have something tangible to work with so they could create a goal to have in mind," said Scheuer. "They went above and beyond what I expected." 

Cobi Williams, a junior economics major, said his team wanted to find a different way to contribute. “Our team met once a week and decided we would collect coats for the children,” said Williams. “We ended up collecting 30 coats, I had a very passionate group, and this work was very satisfying,” he said.

Emma Melton, a freshman in University 110, made sure the group focused on what the children needed and wanted. “Our group was assigned a young boy and a teenage girl; we got the boy a stuffed animal, toy cars and Legos; we got the girl a toothbrush, a camera and notebooks,” said Melton.

After taking a large group picture of all the participants, Shelton expressed her thanks. “Recently, we have been helping flood victims and the children who were devastated by the event,” said Shelton. “These kids come out of crisis situations with absolutely nothing. For all of you students, it was a project, but for these kids, it is hope,” said Shelton, a member of the University College Board of Visitors.

As a result of the competitive spirit of the teams, the students went above and beyond in their donations. The teams were judged on most creative in approach, the most quality items and which group had the most total weight in items. When the event was over, the items, weighing more than 1,400 pounds, were loaded into multiple trucks and taken to Fostering Hope.

After the donations were brought in, Alpha Xi Delta, a sorority at CCU, stepped in to lend a helping hand. More than 100 young women from the organization took shifts at Fostering Hope within the span of three days. The sorority sisters folded clothing, organized toys and separated the items so they would be easily accessible.

The shifts were led by Allison Plessett, an Alpha Xi Delta sister and peer group leader for University 110 classes. She is a sophomore interdisciplinary studies major.

“I found out Fostering Hope was in the process of switching buildings and could use help making the transition, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to get our girls involved with a program that was founded by a CCU alumna,” said Plessett.

Shelton said Fostering Hope has greatly appreciated the service of the students. “It is always inspiring to see young people take the time to reach out and make a difference in the community. Being a CCU alumnus, it is important to me to have an ongoing connection with the university and our students.”

Marissa Fuline is a student worker in the Office of University Communications.


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