CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — The Penn State Lehigh Valley campus hosted "We Are ... One World and We Are ... Penn State Lehigh Valley,” a community-service project that came out of a class assignment for HDFS 287 Intercultural Community-Building taught by Sandy Kile, instructor in communication arts and sciences, along with RISE. RISE is a student organization that takes initiative to prevent sexual abuse and violence and offers support to those who have been affected.
The class thought of the idea after reading "The Alchemist," which tells the story of a shepherd boy who wants to travel in search of a treasure. The candy fundraiser, which is focused on promoting learning about diversity through travel, took place in Centre Hall on Nov. 29 and 30.
The goal was to raise a total of $500 to put toward one Penn State Lehigh Valley student attending a spring 2017 short-term study abroad program. The students teamed up with Nick Miller, a finance major at the Smeal College of Business who attended the Lehigh Valley campus for his first two years. Miller agreed to match the $500 if the HDFS class and RISE reached their $500 goal. Miller's donation would create a scholarship from his Varricchio-Miller Education Foundation. The Varricchio-Miller Education Foundation's mission is to give scholarships to Penn State Lehigh Valley students to use to study abroad.
After the two-day fundraiser, the HDFS class in conjunction with RISE raised a total of $550 for the spring 2017 study abroad scholarship, which coupled with Miller's $500 match increases the scholarship to $1,050.
“We are looking to raise awareness to financial situations for students who may not be able to afford a trip abroad. We want to give them a chance to live their dream,” said Riddhi Patel, a first-year biomedical engineering student who is one of the HDFS students who helped to organize the fundraiser. “Students are encouraged to explore and follow their dreams, and this is our way of giving them a chance to further and take their education abroad.”
Kile saw her students grow and benefit from the experience.
“The students came together as a quiet class of first-year students, not knowing one another and a bit overwhelmed by college life. As the project evolved, they joined voices and talents to do everything from formulating a plan, to creating a logo and coordinating time and effort to successfully run a fundraising event,” said Kile. “They emerged from the experience as a team of friends, feeling pride and great passion for what they accomplished.”
Following the fundraiser, the HDFS class and the Varricchio-Miller Education Foundation will collaborate on an essay question for students to complete as part of their application for the $1,050 scholarship to study abroad. Once entries are received, the HDFS class and the Varricchio-Miller Education Foundation will choose a candidate who demonstrates financial need and a vision for learning about diversity by traveling the world.