Although the concept of giving back might seem too broad, students in the Public Relations II or Client Relations class realized a need in the local community and used a class project to raise awareness on campus.
Professor Devon Gifis, who teaches the course, said via email, “The students wanted to host a drive on campus to help raise awareness as well as show their classmates how easy and simple it is to give back, especially during the holiday season.”
Gifis, who worked with the charitable organization Pass It Along, said that the students chose to hold a winter accessories drive rather than a coat drive in order to maximize donations.
“We were cognizant of the fact that our main public is the college student, and we wanted to make sure we were maximizing the success of the drive,” Gifis said.
Brittany Rockenfeller, a marketing manager at Pass It Along and a Seton Hall (’16) graduate, said via email that the drive started with one class’ project intended to improve client communication and soon extended to the entire Seton Hall community. She also said the name of the drive comes from putting a positive note in each coat that is distributed.
“After we collect the coats, we write a note of hope and happiness to slip into the pocket so when the coat is received, it also comes with a smile,” Rockenfeller said. She also added that the drive helps those who donate as well as those who receive a coat. “Note in a Coat not only physically and emotionally helps each person that receives a coat, but also touches the hearts of those who donate,” Rockenfeller said.
Geraldine Castro, a senior public relations major, said that she got involved with the project because of her class but has genuinely enjoyed working on a service project and would contribute to more projects in the future.
“The drive wasn’t easy nor hard,” Castro said. “We learned that for the future we might partner up with DOVE or the nursing department, as they hold similar drives within our timeframe.”
She added that she was happy with response that the drive has received and echoed similar sentiments to Rockenfeller’s.
“All the time and effort we put in this project will be all worth it when I see the smile of those receiving the coats and winter accessories,” Castro said. “Having a winter coat is a luxury that most people and children don’t have.”
As of Nov. 29, students across campus donated 55 winter accessories and 11 coats via boxes around campus. There were also four boxes located in various South Orange businesses, which will be collected after the drive ends on Nov. 30 and combined with student donations.
According to Rockenfeller, the coats and accessories will be distributed to those in need in Sussex County. Gifis said that hats, gloves and scarves are essential items to keep under-privileged children warm this winter.
“We are making a difference in the lives of people who are essentially right in our backyard,” Gifis said.
Alyssa Schirm can be reached at email@example.com.