Gifts, wrapping paper and holiday music filled the classroom in Huntsman Hall at USU, where over 50 students gathered Tuesday evening for the Gift Wrapping Social for the Sub for Santa service project.
For the past four weeks leading up to the social, students in the Entrepreneurship club worked together in teams to invest $25 of startup funds from The Center of Entrepreneurship to run a small business to raise funds for Sub for Santa. Together, they raised $5,513. This far exceeded the expectations.
“I am very proud of these students,” said Chalon Keller, a professor who helps lead the club. “We aren’t just talking in a classroom, we are putting it into action with synergy and creativity. And it is for such a great cause.”
The USU Sub for Santa program is hosted by the Inclusion Center and provides gifts for families of USU students in need. This is the 10th year of USU’s Sub for Santa, and the center recognized six families and 20 children that could use a little extra help with gifts this year.
This is the first year the club has helped with the fundraising efforts for Sub for Santa. Keller had seen an email that was sent out to faculty about Sub for Santa wanting more help this year and as she took the idea to the club leadership, knowing they could make a difference.
“It literally took me half a day to stop shaking when I heard the results,” said Dorcee Winward, the staff assistant at the Inclusion Center. “It blew me out of the water how successful this became.”
The nine groups of students all had different ideas of how to raise the money. Some teams washed cars, others raked leaves or some made products and sold them. One team even created and planned a gala with a silent auction.
“It has been really cool to see how we have all sacrificed our time for this powerful project,” said Kaeden Jacobs, a junior at USU. “To be able to help little kids have Christmas is the best reason.”
With the money that was earned, each group took a list of needs and wants for each family and went shopping for gifts.
“We were shopping today and I was holding all these presents for a little girl and I got emotional thinking about how this was going to change her Christmas this year,” said Jess May, the spouse of a club member who was invited to help. “It is special to imagine a family on Christmas open these gifts knowing that someone is out there looking out for them.”
By the time the presents were all wrapped up, the cars were running out of space to hold all of the gifts.
“This is not a bad problem to have,” Winward said, smiling.