Alumna Carli Cichocki gives back with Foster the People

Stephanie Black

Eagerly listening from backstage, Carli Cichocki, waits for Foster the People’s lead singer Mark Foster to read the results of the day’s Do Good Bus volunteers off of her clearly written talking points.

That morning, like many others, Cichocki tiptoed through a sea of sleeping team members to provide media outlets with the final details of the day’s Do Good Bus project.

After countless email and press releases, Cichocki joins her team to pick up volunteers from Austin, the city of the day, to raise money for volunteer fire fighters’ equipment.

Hours later, she returns to the bus to write the band’s talking points just in time for its concert. After a day of hard work, she hears thousands of fans scream as Foster announces the $26,000 collected that day by the Do Good Bus.

Cichocki, a 2006 Kent State alumna, traveled with the Do Good Bus during its collaborative tour with Grammy nominated band Foster the People. She accepted the position of ‘Do Good Bus Press Gal,’ formally known as media relations manager, in August 2011.

Cichocki said she first heard about the Do Good Bus, an L.A.-based mobile community service project, while getting drinks with childhood friend Mark Foster.

“I knew I had to be a part of it,” she said. “If you told me that I’d be working for Mark when I was a child, I would have laughed in your face.”

During the six-week tour, the Do Good Bus picked up volunteers in each city Foster the People preformed. The volunteers, selected from an online contest, were chosen to participate in an undisclosed community service project.

Before accepting the position with the Do Good Bus, Cichocki interned for multiple organizations, most notably President Obama’s Press Office and the city of Kent.

Cichocki said she attributes her success to her time spent at Kent State as an undergraduate.

“I would have never gotten to where I am today if it wasn’t for the great experiences and teachers that Kent State offers,” she said.

It was Cichocki’s professor Michele Ewing, associate professor and faculty adviser, who discover her niche in public relations.

Cichocki, a broadcast journalism major at the time, “would constantly have her hand high in the air every time I’d ask my Principles of Public Relations class a question,” Ewing said.

“I approached Carli after class one day and asked if she had every thought about being in public relations,” Ewing said. “She changed majors soon after and went on to become one of the most successful students in the program.”

William Sledzick, associate professor of journalism and mass communication, said it was more than Cichocki’s talent in PR that made her an exceptional student.

“Carli was one of those people that just has enthusiasm that is uncontained,” Sledzick said. “She’s excitable and passionate about what she does, and she’s unforgettable for that reason.”

Cichocki also made an impact outside the classroom.

As a student, she was vice president of public relations for PRSSA Kent as well as a volunteer with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and the King-Kennedy Community Center.

“I get my kicks helping people, and, as I grow, I want to give back in bigger ways,” Cichocki said. “My teachers at Kent invested a lot of time and energy in me and it’s because of them that I’m able to pursue big dreams.”

Contact Stephanie Black at [email protected].