Due to COVID, a host of fundraisers, community service and acts of kindness were put on hold in 2020, but the pandemic did not stop everything. Here are a few examples of how Business Bears gave back.
COVID couldn’t stop these Bears from giving
Members of the Construction Club collected enough items to fill 187 boxes for Operation Christmas Child, a nonprofit that delivers shoeboxes around the world.
Graham Sudduth, the club’s vice president of philanthropy, said they used their own money to fill the boxes with everything from shoes, hats, hygiene products, toys, pencils and more.
“It was good to be able to do this because this is what we do every year and we all enjoy doing it. It’s our biggest fundraiser,” he said.
The club partners with First Baptist Church. The church provides the boxes. The club pays to ship the items around the world.
The Construction Club has led a variety of community service projects over the years helping Habitat for Humanity, assisting in a food pantry build for Harmony House, and an exit stair reconstruction for Lost and Found.
They participate in Adopt-A-Street and volunteer at Holland Elementary during building and engineering night. Philanthropy is an important aspect to club members, including Sudduth, a junior from O’Fallon, Illinois.
“I was very lucky growing up,” Sudduth said. “I always got everything I needed. It’s nice to be able to give back to something that’s bigger than myself. And it is fun.”
Donating a skillset
When the Summit Preparatory School had a technology need, two Bears stepped up to help.
The Summit is an accredited independent school for children ages three years old through 12th grade. They reached out to Dr. Xiang Guo, Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) faculty advisor and Summit parent, for help. AITP chapter members, Blake Heckman and Joseph King, volunteered to install new technology.
“The project is related directly to several of the students’ major courses, and they got to use what they learn in the classroom to help others,” Dr. Guo said.
AITP connects students with local communities and industries via guest speakers, regional and national competitions, etc. Projects like this highlight the value of the students’ knowledge, skills and experience.
“We hope to use this project as a model for our members and plan to do more projects like this in the future,” said Heckman, senior IT infrastructure major. “It is great experience for us, and it grows our relationship with the community. One thing I learned is how valuable the internet is to everyone, especially during the pandemic.”
Creating holiday cheer
Members of Beta Alpha Psi, an honorary professional business organization for accounting, finance and information systems, assisted the Red Cross with a blood drive in mid-November. In December, they created cards to send to children in hospitals over the holidays through Cardz For Kidz.
“Public service is important because we need to give back to our community. It gives everyone a sense of what the community is going through and allows us to be in touch with those around that are similar to us, and different,” said Sydney Hill, chapter president.