By Sachi Peiris and Elise Gregg
Students in a class taught by Donald Roomes, an FIU Business teaching professor of international business, has raised over $5,000 for the Make-A-Wish foundation.
Each term, Roomes’ class delivers lessons in creating, managing, and evaluating a service-learning project. This class was divided into teams, with each creating a plan to bring awareness and raise funds for the cause.
For the second time, the class project benefitted the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which raises money to grant wishes for children with critical illnesses, such as a dream vacation, or meeting an idol.
“There’s a lot of compassion for the less fortunate,” said Roomes about the students. The model of the course helps students with real world applications of management and problem solving.
First, the students were introduced to Antwain Fowler, who suffered from a rare condition called enteropathy and had undergone numerous surgeries by the age of six. His wish was to get a Sonic the Hedgehog-themed room makeover. The students needed to raise $5,000 to accomplish this.
The class was divided into eight groups. Within each group, the students created a marketing and fundraising strategy. Social media, crowdfunding, and sponsorships were used in this process, and students built a website to raise awareness. They not only asked friends and family for donations, but also sold stickers and other items to reach their goal.
“The project helped us apply what we learned in the class onto a real-world situation,” said Damian Tapia, a sophomore studying finance. “My favorite part was learning how to make the most effective and efficient decisions for your business.”
Antwain’s original wish was to be an FSU football player for a day, but his condition prevented him from doing so. Nevertheless, FIU Business students not only raised over $6,000 for his room makeover but partnered with FIU Athletics to get Antwain footballs and jerseys signed by FIU athletes.
Students were deeply touched by Antwain’s courage, optimism and contagious energy. Although they were saddened by his passing, the project gave them the opportunity to use their education to help others.
“It’s a project that students can quickly identify with,” said Roomes. “We can change someone’s life.”