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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Eller nonprofit management class makes a real-world difference during Make a Difference Day

Alex McIntyre
Sanjay Ramiah, a finance senior, steps out of McClelland Hall, home to the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, on Thursday, Nov. 5.

Over 1,000 students from the Eller College of Management will disperse throughout Tucson on Nov. 6-7, converging at over 60 different sites to perform volunteer work as a part of Eller College’s Make a Difference Day.

Make a Difference Day is organized and led entirely by Eller College students enrolled in a nonprofit management class taught by Pam Perry, the associate dean and undergraduate programs director for Eller College.

Students are responsible for everything from logistics to seeking out the actual programs they work with.

“We ultimately plan the entire thing with Pam’s guidance,” said Emily Bell, a senior studying business management and entrepreneurship. “Our class is pretty much the only ones who do most of the planning.”

Bell said that the class is comprised of about 30 students, who are then segmented into 10 sub-committees and charged with various roles in the planning process. She is a part of the engagements committee, tasked with finding actual volunteer sites.

Eller College has partnered with United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, in lining up its efforts with United Way’s overarching project called Days of Caring. The project has roughly 60 companies and organizations from around the state sending around 2,000 volunteers, not including students from Eller College.

“We just want to get the students engaged in their community,” Bell said. “It makes a huge difference—over a thousand Eller students going out there, that’s a pretty impressive thing. They can get a lot of work accomplished and really better their community. … We just want to encourage them to give back.”

According to Meredith Bode, the manager of events for United Way, Eller College is “definitely the biggest contributor” out of all of the organizations sending volunteers.

United Way has 156 projects throughout Southern Arizona for its Days of Caring, and Eller College students will lend a hand at over 60 more sites around the city.

Volunteers from Eller College will primarily focus their efforts around local schools, but students will also be sent to community gardens, low-income housing, animal shelters and food banks.

“I think it’s really good, not only for the image of Eller—showing that really we do care about the community. This is a big part of who we are,” said Natalie Smith, a finance junior and the site manager for one of the Make a Difference Day projects. “But also, it’s a really good way to organize and get more people involved in the community who maybe haven’t thought about that before.”

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