By Alexis De La Rosa
Beginning at 11 a.m. on February 10, students of all majors will embark on a journey most others will never experience. For 25 grueling hours, participating students will give everything they have to create brand new advertising, public relations, and marketing materials for local nonprofits during the eighth annual PhilADthropy.
School of Communication professor and founder of PhilADthropy, Meryl Blau, says the feeling students get from using their learned skill set to give back to the community is unique to the 25-hour marathon. After the long night, clients are presented with fresh material that showcases their organization.
“The reactions from the actual clients is breathtaking. They are excited, appreciated, in tears of gratitude. The emotions on both sides are so high, it's just a joy to see. You get to see the student and the client face-to-face feeling the moment of gratitude and pride. You won’t experience it anywhere else,” said Blau.
During the event, students work together to create branding initiatives, public relations strategies, social media campaigns, web pages, and nearly everything in between for participating non-profits. Fueled by Red Bull, sugary treats, pizza, nachos, coffee, and tons of other food, students and their teams race against the clock to transform the look of selected nonprofits in the South Florida area.
Last year, thirteen organizations including 2Lives Foundation, Gifts from Jada Foundation, Inc., and Susan G. Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale were assigned teams of talented and energized students from all backgrounds. On the day of the event, each foundation representative met with their student team, discussed the objective of the foundation, and then sent the students off for a 25-hour creative marathon.
During the 25 hours, students worked together to brainstorm, create, design, and write professional and original materials for their assigned nonprofit. Sidney Sherman, who participated in PhilADthropy in 2016, worked as a photographer and designer on the creative team for ITWOMEN, a non-profit that strives to close the gender gap in STEM professions. Sherman believes she’ll never experience something as rewarding and amazing as PhilADthropy ever again.
“At first, I thought it would be more tiring, but once you’re working and excited you don't realize what time it is. It was way more rewarding than I thought it was going to be. I didn't realize how much you could get done in just one night. It was amazing to watch the process unravel,” said Sherman.
The organizations chosen to participate in this year’s PhilADthropy will be announced this week. Interested students from all majors are encouraged to participate. For more information or to sign up, visit www.philadthropy.com. The deadline for students to sign up is Feb. 5.
When asked what advice Blau has for students interested in taking on the challenge, she responded, “Don't chicken out. You lose more from not going than being less than perfect.”