UB students throw pies at professors to raise money for Toys for Tots charity

Hanna Carrasco’s English professor said if she came to the Student Union and threw a pie in his face, he would give her extra credit.

On Thursday, Carrasco, a senior pharmacology and toxicology major, and other students paid $3 to throw pie in their professors’ faces for the first-ever Pie a Professor event. Pie a Professor is organized by UB’s Residence Hall Association (RHA) in an effort to raise money for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. RHA raised more than $600 and 160 students participated.

“As the father of two daughters who love the holidays, I am a strong supporter of Toys for Tots,” said David Schmid, an associate English professor. “I think we all have an obligation to help others less fortunate than ourselves and do whatever we can to make the holiday season special for everyone.”

Schmid said he is a big fan of the idea of UB students and faculty members being able to “interact with each other outside the classroom in an informal manner.” “Anything we can do to improve lines of communication between students and staff makes UB a better place for everyone and if that means I have to take a few pies in the face, that’s OK with me,” Schmid said.

Toys for Tots delivers new toys to low-income children on Christmas, as “a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens,” according to its website.

“I think there’s something to be said for charities that protect children and the underprivileged and people who are poor because I think that there’s a discrepancy between the haves and have-nots especially in Buffalo where there’s a big disparity,” said Paul Cullen, associate biology professor.

Students like Lucy Ye and Susan Weng, both sophomore occupational therapy majors, said they participated in the event to get back at one of their toughest professors, Scott Wersinger, a psychology professor.

“We had him last semester for an exercise science class and it was the hardest class ever so we wanted to pay him back,” Weng said.

Student Life staff members also raised $60 for the charity to throw pies at Johnny Garcia, Student Union manager and events coordinator.

Jake Caldwell, a junior biomedical engineering major and president of RHA, said RHA always encourages the Hall Council to raise money for charity.

RHA has worked with Toys for Tots since its inception at UB.

“The e-board has rarely ever done anything to raise money themselves and so a popular event that’s usually around is Pie Your RA, we decided to take it to a whole new level to bring the campus together to get involved with this great charity,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell said he and a former RHA e-board member came up with the idea for the event. He said the idea fell through in the past due to logistical conflicts, but this year RHA had all the necessary resources to put the event together.

“I want [students] to know it’s easy for them to get involved in changing the lives of children in the Buffalo community around them,” Caldwell said. “I want them to recognize their professors and staff – they are all willing volunteers and we get to foster a relationship between students and professors, who get to come together for one easy fun cause.”

Oluwatosin Johnson, a junior nursing major and secretary of RHA, said the event was a fun way for students to donate to less fortunate children.

“We know some students might not like a professor, so we just decided to try this out,” Johnson said.

Ashley Inkumsah is a news desk editor and can be reached at ashley.inkumsah@ubspectrum.com.