Fundraising for Biloxi trip is underway

Aman Ali

Not all Kent State students will be able to travel to Biloxi this Spring Break for relief efforts, but there is still a lot for them to do from Kent.

“We’re expecting 100 percent participation from the Kent State community,” said Gary Padak, dean of Undergraduate Studies. “Everyone can’t go, and we know that. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be a sponsor for someone else.”

Although the original estimate for the trip was $461 per person, Padak said the finalized total of $299 will make it easier for students to afford the trip.

Several students and organizations are actively raising money to cover the trip. The Daily Kent Stater reported last week students living in the EXCEL Learning Community raised money by offering haircuts. In other areas on campus, the College of Nursing held a bake sale.

“What’s great about the fundraising is that it has snowballed,” said Ann Gosky, associate director for the Center for Student Involvement. “I think there are a lot of things going on by students and organizations that support the trip that I might not even know about.”

She added that many students and organizations want to help raise money but do not know how. Gosky encouraged these students to contact the Center for Student Involvement for fundraising ideas.

Groups on campus have done just that. Gosky said Sigma Alpha Lambda has agreed to pledge portions of its membership drive this semester. On Saturday, Circle K held a Mardi Gras Benefit Ball to help raise money for the Biloxi trip.

“We had already planned on doing something for the relief,” Circle K President Nick Buchser said. “But when we found out the need for fundraising, we decided to direct our funds towards the trip.”

As an alternative to holding fundraising events, other students are raising funds by hitting the ground running. Angie Conant, freshman speech pathology and audiology major, sold raffle tickets at Kent State basketball games. The tickets went toward an assortment of gift baskets that included hot-air-balloon rides, T-shirts and sweets as prizes.

“I just wanted to help in any way,” Conant said. “I know there are students that don’t have enough money or time to go to Biloxi, but they can still help.”

Padak said asking relatives and friends was also a good idea.

“We’ve had a couple of students whose companies their parents work for sponsored the program,” Padak said.

Businesses around the community have also played an important role in fundraising.

From March 16 to 18, the university is encouraging local businesses to donate portions of their sales to the trip. Gosky said Mugzee’s, a local wings restaurant, agreed to donate $1 for every order of wings sold during this period. She added that local car washes have agreed to let Kent State use their facilities to raise funds as well.

As of last week, 192 participants had registered for the Biloxi trip, but Padak expects roughly around 300 people to sign up by the registration deadline on Friday.

“When I see students sign up for this trip,” Padak said, “that’s a special type of student that is willing to give up their Spring Break, and more over, pay for it.”

He emphasized the university was taking any measure possible to lower costs of the trip and encouraged students to contact him if they cannot afford to go.

“Any individual, regardless of income level, can raise funds for this trip if they can take the time and effort,” Padak said.

Contact student affairs reporter Aman Ali at [email protected]