Promoting healthy living in the Buffalo community
Published: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Buffalo students have started to step out of the college classroom and back into the elementary school classroom.
The Buffalo Public School District reached out to Mary Beth Debus and her communication students and requested help planning a health fair at Public School 30. Debus teaches the Professional Business in Communication (COM 317) class. One of her goals for the semester is to have students work together to plan events that involve family engagement within the Buffalo community.
The health fair was requested by Public School 30 an efforts to teach students and their family members who have immigrated to America the benefits and wellness of being healthy.
In past years, the class has helped plan carnivals, school dances and Thanksgiving-themed events. Debus feels that the students should have a lot of flexibility in their planning.
Early in the semester, she taught her class how to write cover letters, resumes and interviewing skills. After conveying these different skill sets to the students, Debus posted wanted ads on UBlearns so her students can apply for a position in one of the six non-profit departments. Each student submits a professional cover letter and resume, and they are interviewed by Debus one on one.
This interview process is how students are selected for their role in the project.
The six different departments in the class project include marketing and public relations, procurement, finance, inventory, planning and logistics and a creative department.
Kevin Diver, a senior communication major, described the class as a very unique experience.
“Obviously as a communication major I’ve been in a ton of group projects. At first it seemed a little daunting, but it has gotten a lot easier to prepare because there is a reason for doing this group project, as opposed to just doing a presentation,” Diver said. “We’re actually putting on an event, and we want to do a great job here. Nobody wants to drop the ball, and everyone is actually taking it to heart.”
Diver applied for the planning and logistics department but ultimately got selected for the procurement department. The professor felt based on his resume, his aptitudes fit the position in the latter department where his presence would benefit the entire project.
Jean Onokako, a junior communication major who is part of the public relations and marketing department for the health fair project, feels it is important for students to be involved in educating younger students about good health and wellness practices.
“It is important for the kids at the elementary school to be aware of healthy habits,” Onokako said. “We want UB students to get involved to donate items for prizes for the health fair, and the more that we get, the more beneficial the health fair will be.”
Diver also feels it is important to get students at UB involved with this project because it is important to show UB is more than academic departments, Greek life and student associations.
Debus said the students in her class have invested their own money to help fund equipment and prizes. This shows her they are dedicated.
“Students in the past who have taken this class have donated money and as a class we decided that since we did not have to buy a text book, we would donate $20 each,” Diver said. “We have roughly 30 students who donate $20 each, making the donation from the class to be about $600 on top of about $300 that was given to us from UB.”
Students describe her course as an internship and a class meshed together. Her students teach each other and then apply the knowledge they gain in class to their non-profit project.
The class project aims to teach students how to apply what they learn from inside the classroom to the real world. The students that have taken her class in the past used the non-profit as an experience on their resume.
“Unlike a lot of projects that you have to do in classes, this one has a real outcome,” Debus said. “There are real parents, real children, a real school and if we don’t succeed, there will be consequences to that. So the students tend to take it really seriously.”
Students hope to get more UB students involved with their project and want to have the UB local businesses involved as well.
According to Onokako, the students in his group have drafted letters to local businesses and UB organizations, asking for donations of any kind to help make this health fair as successful as possible.
The health fair will take place at Public School 30 at 5 p.m. on Nov. 19. The event is open to the public.