FACS 351 Students Use Their Skills to Give Back

For some, planning events can feel tedious and difficult. For others, it is a chance to put what they learned in the classroom into action.

The latter is the case with students in FACS 351— an event management class taught by Professor Alison Pettit. 

Students in the class plan and coordinate events to support nonprofit agencies. The course consists of a semester-long project where students must create and host an event for a local nonprofit agency. 

The project has pressing deadlines throughout the semester, such as securing a location, deciding on the event’s theme and selling tickets. The class’s final project is the event itself. Students are graded on the outcome of the event with the goal of raising $500 for the nonprofit agency they chose. 

Professor Pettit wants her students to have the hands-on experience they need to thrive in the event management industry. 

“Planning events can be challenging, so they are truly seeing what goes on behind the scenes to plan an event,” she said. 

FACS 351 has allowed many students the chance to organize, plan and execute an event successfully in past semesters. 

“Designer Bag Bingo was very popular and raised $1,600 for the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center,” Pettit said. “A vendor fair … raised $1,400 for the Daily Bread. Each semester, all of the events raised a total of (around) $4,000 for local nonprofit agencies.”

Events students are planning this semester include glow-in-the dark-bowling March 5 at 7 p.m., a vendor fair supporting Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center March 22 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., a western-themed night supporting    Mosaic March 24 at 7 p.m. and a gala supporting World Help April 22 at 7 p.m.

Riley Andrews, a senior event planning    major, is helping to plan and execute the glow-in-the-dark bowling night to benefit Mary  Bethune Academy, an early childhood education center in Lynchburg. 

Andrews and her team are raising money through selling tickets to bowl, raffle tickets for prizes and additional donations that will go directly to the academy. The group is sharing about the event through their Instagram account, @glownightlu, as well as through advertising and word-of-mouth. 

The goal for the event is to raise $500 for Mary Bethune to purchase more supplies and toys for its day care.

The event planning projects not only benefit the nonprofit agencies but also provide educational benefits for the FACS students. 

“This class has helped me get hands on experience in the world of event planning,” Andrews said. “I have learned valuable skills in networking and working efficiently with others as a team to get the job done. This will help me in the future as I graduate and walk towards my career.”

marsden is a feature reporter.

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