Student plan fundraiser on zero-sum budget
The South Carolina National Guard Armory was filled with music, dancing and the smell of Southern comfort food as the students of Professor Annette Hoover’s Tourism Festival Event Planning and Management class finally saw 16 weeks of hard work come together in Thursday night’s “Sip, Shout and Shag” event for Camp Kemo.
More than 200 guests from the university and the Columbia community turned out for the event to support the Palmetto Richland Children’s Cancer Center in sending 100 children to Camp Kemo, a weeklong summer camp for young cancer patients and their siblings. As part of their semester-long project, the class of hospitality students had to operate as a real company, aiming to raise at least $50,000 in order to send 50 cancer patients to the camp.
Before the event, the students had already reached $49,000 through ticket sales, grants and corporate donations from companies such as Coca Cola and BMW. By the end of the night, however, after a silent auction of donated packages (including a signed poster of USC football coach Steve Spurrier and a mandolin and bongo set signed by Hootie & the Blowfish), they had raised $51,761.67.
Camp Kemo staff and volunteers and seven families from the cancer center were among the honored guests. The children from the cancer center enjoyed a surprise visit from Cocky as well swinging music from live band The Mighty Kicks fueling the evening’s endless line dancing.
Hoover’s class, with fundraising help from Phi Mu, Kappa Delta, Alpha Delta Pi and other sororities, had to coordinate the entire event on a zero-sum budget. Over $6,000 worth of equipment and decorations were donated by Celebrations Party Rentals. Buck Ridge Plantation, Chick-fil-A and Wayne Davis
Distributors provided the catering, while Brightsound Entertainment donated the stage for the music. Maj. Gen. Nelson Lacey, a board director for Camp Kemo, helped the class secure the Armory as the venue.
Despite the challenge of planning the entire campaign with no budget, fourth-year hospitality student Trey Vaughan said he enjoyed being able to gain practical experience in coordinating the event for the class. However, for him, the true highlight of the project was getting to know the families of the cancer patients and the Camp Kemo volunteers.
“It’s definitely been an eye-opening experience for me to learn about Camp Kemo through this project,” Vaughan said. “I’m glad that we can help out so that these kids can enjoy the camp experience that they normally wouldn’t get to have.”
Hoover, who leads her class each year in planning a fundraiser for a different nonprofit organization, was proud of the way her students came together to make the event a success.
“The most rewarding part every year is watching them realize they can do something they never thought they could do and succeed at it, and watching their faces as they see the gratitude of the people they’re helping,” Hoover said.