Students from the Global Citizenship class developed a unique way to give back to the community while engaging students and staff on campus in friendly competition. Stuffed Smiles was a student versus staff collection held on and off campus to obtain gently used or new stuffed animals. Through this collection it was students’ hopes that police departments and fire departments would be able to provide the stuffed animals to children as a source of comfort in traumatic situations.
Students started from scratch collecting and decorating boxes for the donations, designing flyers, and advertising the event. Donation boxes were placed in Globe University’s commons area, Thrivent Financial, and Wine Premier. Students then set a goal of how many stuffed animals they would like to generate. They set a modest goal of 500 stuffed animals and well-surpassed that goal almost reaching 1,000!
“We were unsure of where to set our goal because we didn’t know what kind of response we would get for the collection,” said student Danielle Raska. “We well-surpassed our goal of 500, collecting almost 1,000 donate-able stuffed animals.”
More than 75 percent of the donations came from students or student generated connections making the students the winner of the competition.
After the collection was complete students began reaching out to the local fire departments and police departments to arrange delivery; however, students found that many local agencies, although appreciative, were already overwhelmed with other donations.
“Your program is very thoughtful and your students deserve a big ‘Thank You’ for all their hard work,” said Melissa Spielman, Division Chief of EMS Green Bay Fire Department.
The students widened their search and focused on smaller departments and were able to locate some in need. Since a significant portion of stuffed animals remained, students began reaching out to other organizations. The remaining stuffed animals were donated to Service League of Green Bay. They utilized the stuffed animals in the Big Events for Little Kids. During this event children ages 10 and under may purchase a stuffed animal for 10 cents each. All proceeds then go back to serving the children of Brown County.
Although the donations did not go where they were initially intended, students were able to make concrete connections among the project, the course, themselves, and the community.
Student Ashley Hearley stated, “This experience that I have taken in I will use and apply throughout my time here at Globe, and after my time here I plan on getting involved not only to help others but for myself.”
Written by Ashley Scott, Lead Global Citizenship Instructor, Globe University-Green Bay