Twenty-seven students in four small groups raised more than $9,300 in funds and canned goods for local charities in the fall semester as part of the Communication in Small Groups and Teams course taught by Rebecca Cline, Ph.D., professor in the School of Communication Studies at Kent State University.
Students designed projects to help people in poverty, people with cancer and their families, and the homeless. Each project benefitted a specific local population through donations to the Campus Kitchen on the Kent State University Campus, the Phyllis Zumkehr County Clothing Center in Ravenna, Stewart’s Caring Place in Fairlawn and the ACCESS shelter for homeless women and children in Summit County.
Each of the four groups implemented an event or initiative. Class members held a bowling evening, led a Zumba instruction event, spearheaded a competitive canned food drive in Cardinal Local Schools and sold Project Poverty wristbands along with hosting a special donation night at Five Guys Burgers and Fries. The projects included support from numerous local businesses including Kent Lanes, Georgio’s Pizza, Dick’s Sporting Goods, The LeBron James Family Foundation, the Akron Zoo, Playhouse Square, Lia Sophia and many more
ACCESS is dedicated to addressing the plight of homeless women and children in our community. The agency encourages women to develop self-esteem and self-sufficiency through its programs. The Phyllis Zumkehr County Clothing Center provides free, gently used clothing and household items to residents in need. Stewart’s Caring Place services cancer sufferers and their families in Summit, Medina, Stark, Portage and Wayne counties.
The Campus Kitchen Project (CKP) is a national organization that that provides meals to those in need, using student volunteers to prepare meals within their own communities. The CKP at Kent State is the first in Ohio. Student volunteers prepare meals for Kent Social Services, the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland, the Freedom House and several other local partners.
Upon completing their projects, students analyzed their own communication successes and failures as they faced groupthink, the illusion of vulnerability and identifying roles.
Cline celebrated the accomplishments of her students in their final class, reminding them that they have “learned that they can do real things – amazing things.”
“We were very overwhelmed, but stuck together as a group. We’re proud of ourselves and proud that we’ve helped people out,” said Taylor McLaughlin, a sophomore communication studies major.