Giving Moore: Brandywine Students Paying It Forward
Students working their way through college are learning the details and intricacies of their respective majors in the hopes of success in the future.
Many times, however, they really aren’t able to put what they have learned to the test until it is time to do an internship or until they graduate and land that first “real job.” However, one determined group of students at Brandywine is getting a leg-up on putting that classroom knowledge to the test.
Dan and Nicole Angle lost everything in a tornado in Moore, OK last May, including their 9-year-old daughter, Sydney. Karrie Bowen, an instructor in the communication department and a friend of Nicole, did her best to help from afar when the tragedy hit last summer, but she says it never felt like what she was doing was enough. So when given the chance to make a difference, Bowen applied to the Laboratory for Civic Engagement in the hopes that her Comm 471 Public Relations class becomes the Rosenberg Class for the Spring 2014 semester.
David Rosenberg, a Penn State alum, is dedicated to the idea of civic engagement and community service. His focus with the Laboratory for Civic Engagement is all about wanting to make a difference, not just locally, but around the world. Rosenberg donates $500 of his own money to one class each semester. That money enables the class to make a difference. After applying for the donation, Bowen’s class was chosen to be one of the two Rosenberg classes this semester.
The class has chosen to organize a fundraiser to benefit Shelter Oklahoma Schools in honor of Sydney Angle.
“This is an amazing opportunity for them as a whole,” Bowen said of her students. “Not only are they getting both practical work experience in putting together this kind of event, but they are also getting a feel as to how important academic research is when you go into the ‘real world.’”
Bowen was very confident in Brandywine’s willingness to organize and host an event like this on the campus from the very beginning. She describes the campus as being “unbelievably accepting and supportive” of these types of events, while adding that Brandywine’s campus culture is a “give back to the community” type culture.
Junior Myeisha Matos, one of the students in the course, is genuinely optimistic that this event can bring forth the motivation needed to add shelter schools in Oklahoma. Matos envisions that the effort from such a distance will stand out and will ultimately become a difference-maker.
“Hopefully it will show the seriousness of the situation,” Matos said. “You don’t just organize a group of students from miles away and have them care so much about other people and especially the children if things shouldn’t be changed.”
Bowen has been a part of several fundraising events here on campus, but admits that doing an event this big can be somewhat stressful. However, she is very confident in her students.
“Each of them has spent the last three-to-four years working their way diligently through the Corporate Communications program, so I know that they can get the job done,” Bowen added.
The lack of first-hand experience isn’t really her concern but instead, Bowen believes it is the time remaining to organize and plan the event that presents the greatest challenge. But in the field of public relations, one must work quickly.
“In our field in PR, everything is fast, fast, fast anyways,” Bowen said. “You’ve got to learn to move quickly because that’s how our job is.”
To have the opportunity to be a part of the Rosenberg course is something Bowen feels is an honor, not just as an individual, but her students as well, because she feels the course offers valuable life experience. Ultimately, Bowen wants her students to keep in mind of the importance of educating the public about safe shelters in schools, and most of all, Sydney.
“I just think that at the end of the day, this is in her honor, and if she is our motivation, we can do anything,” said Bowen.
The fundraiser is scheduled to take place on Sunday, May 4, 2014 at noon on the Brandywine campus. With various fundraising ideas still being discussed among the Comm 471 students, the group is excited to bring their ideas together to form a memorable event that Brandywine, Oklahoma and the Angle family will remember for a long time.
If you are interested in further information about the event or interested in helping out, please contact Marissa Malin: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lion’s Eye Staff Writer, email@example.com