‘WeCan’ Make a Difference: Globe University Teams with United Way

By Deborah Feldbruegge, student in the business program and Student Ambassador

United Way’s WeCan sculpture-building event is an annual happening that takes place during CommUNITY Fest, which was recently held at Marathon Park in Wausau, Wis.

Photo of Andrea Palas making a food donation

Every year for the last four years, Globe University-Wausau has participated in this special event.

Traditionally, the WeCan food drive on our campus is spearheaded by the student ambassadors. This year, the student ambassadors envisioned building a mountain of food, which was the original inspiration for this year’s theme.

As time progressed, this became a topic of conversation in a project management class (BS380), which several student ambassadors were a part of. The class suggested making it an applied learning project. Instructor Phil Handrick thought this was a great idea.

Adopting this project and making it successful became a significant part of the grade for the class. The first thing our class did was assess the status of the project at that point. From there, we built a game plan.

We had one week to redesign the structure and implement a way to raise the needed canned goods. The redesigned structure was a staircase-themed “Steps to Success.”

Each of the six people in the class was held accountable for a portion of the responsibilities. We also elected a project manager, Deb Feldbruegge, who oversaw the project and made sure that deadlines were met.

Overcoming Challenges 

The first challenge that needed to be addressed was the quantity of food that was required to make the sculpture.

Globe UNiversity, WeCan, We Care

Practicing the build.

We estimated the new design would require about 750 cans of food, which was about half of the estimate for the original structure. When our class took over the management of the project, there were approximately 250 cans of food and around $200 that was raised in a “penny war.”

About the same time, Judith Fabbri, a massage therapy student at the Wausau campus, made raising donations for this event her service learning project for one of her classes. She started an ice bucket challenge—if you were challenged, you had 24 hours to either donate 10 cans or $10, or receive an ice bucket dumped on your head while on campus. This challenged jump-started the enthusiasm on campus, and many more people got involved.

Seeing Results

In one week’s time, we raised another $175, more than 700 additional cans of food, and 250 water bottles!

The enthusiasm was contagious on campus and everyone was inspired to make this project a success. The commitment of our class and our efforts to make sure that Globe had a presence in this event was definitely noticed.

Students and faculty who were not part of our class even stayed with us on campus one night to do a practice build! Then it was all packed up and transported to Marathon Park, where the event was being held.

It took about 3 and a half hours to build the structure on site, and all the effort paid off when we won the most nutritious sculpture award. The judges were impressed with our food choices because the items were versatile and could be used as numerous dishes, such as soup, chili, pasta sauce and in casseroles.

Generous Campus Community 

“I’m really impressed by how the campus community got behind us on this project and that we were able to pull it off in one week’s time,” said Katie Heisler, one of the participants in the project management class and a student ambassador from the business program.

Globe University, WeCan, We Care, United Way

The final Steps to Success

Another student in the class and a student ambassador from the criminal justice program, Richard Grosskreutz, agreed.

“It was amazing how generous our campus community is,” he said. “Our sculpture was one of the largest ones there. We did good!”

After the event, the project management class did a wrap up of how much time and effort went into the project. In one week, the team worked approximately 34 hours on the sculpture, with a monetary value of $2,900, and the total cost of the project reaching $3,700. We also did a group evaluation and well as self-evaluations.

Each team member had to assign a percentage of work effort to their teammates, and discuss any changes or improvements that could have been made. Phil Handrick told the class that he was concerned about the time constraints, but was impressed with our team effort and dedication.

Overall, this was a great learning opportunity for everyone on campus and our class in particular. We had a great experience working with each other, and we all felt wonderful knowing that this project resulted in more than 2,000 meals for our community food banks.