UNI PR students raise $7,500

MALLORY SCHMITZ

Fundraiser organized for speech, language disability care

On Saturday, Nov. 6, fall fun seekers gathered at Hick’s Place just north of Cedar Falls for a day of food, vendors and all sorts of fall activities. However, the event was not just an excuse to enjoy the beautiful fall weather; it was all for an incredible cause.

The students in UNI’s Public Relations Special Events Planning class were the engineers of the first Fallin’ into Fun Festival, with all of the proceeds being donated to the Scottish RiteCare Early Language Program. 

This program is conducted on UNI’s campus, and it provides assistance to people with speech or language disabilities, treating individuals from the age of 6 months to people well into their 80s. The money raised will help them continue to provide these services at little to no cost to the patients and their families.

The Scottish RiteCare Early Language Program also serves as an opportunity for speech-language pathology students to gain experience in observation as well as in actually working with patients in their graduate work.

Through ticket sales and a silent auction, the group of about 20 students originally set out to raise $5,000 for the program. On Nov. 6, they had sold over 190 tickets and had raised over $7,500. 

Lucas Kahler, a third-year public relations major and one of the student organizers, emphasized the importance of different parts of campus supporting each other as the group did with this fundraiser. “I think it worked out really well because the UNI campus really supports one another as a family. It really comes back to benefit UNI and the UNI student experience overall as students get really great experience in the speech-language pathology program, but this has also been some of the greatest experience for our careers as PR students.”

According to Kahler, the original idea of supporting the Scottish RiteCare Early Language Program came from their professor, Gayle Pohl. The rest of the event was planned entirely by the students.

Alisanne Struck, also a third-year public relations major, detailed the planning process. “As far as the timeline goes, we’ve been working on this since the beginning of the semester,” she said.  “This gave us a really good real life example of how to do everything, starting with an idea, then sourcing vendors and donations.”

The event featured food from sponsor Texas Roadhouse, live music, local vendors and yard games. There was plenty for little ones to keep busy with as well, including pumpkin painting, pedal-powered carts from Kids, Cars & More, face painting and appearances by TC and TK.

Struck also noted that almost everyone involved the day of were volunteers.

The hard work of this group of students made a significant impact not only on the community, but also on the students themselves. In seeing their event unfold, Kahler was touched by what they created, saying, “I remember being a kid and this was stuff that I thought was so fun, so to be able to do something like this and bring so much joy to these kids and families while making memories is so cool.” 

Although Saturday has come and gone, the students’ work isn’t done just yet.

On Dec. 1, the group will be partnering with Texas Roadhouse again to hold a Dine to Donate fundraiser for the same cause. Restaurant patrons can mention the Scottish RiteCare Early Language Program fundraiser to their server, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to their cause.

They will also hold a bake sale outside of Texas Roadhouse that day, and the silent e-auction will remain open until then. Anyone interested in bidding on an item can visit fallinintofunfest.squarespace.com.