More than an assignment: Students help Edinboro alum

Category:  News
Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 at 6:00 PM
More than an assignment: Students help Edinboro alum by Nathan Hirth
Photo: Nathan Hirth

One thing all college students have in common, a familiarity with assignments. Some are instructive, and some are busy work, and sometimes it’s the students who decide which it will be for themselves. And then there are the times when students and professors combine their efforts to make an assignment more than a lesson.

It could be said that this is what happened in Dr. Melissa Gibson’s event planning class. The assignment was for each of the groups in the class to plan an event. Simple enough, but Gibson asked the groups if any of them would be willing to help an Edinboro alum whose family has been going through a challenging time.

“The student teams were allowed to pick any nonprofit client that they wanted to work with to create a fundraiser for,” Gibson explained. “I told the class that we had an alum. Her name is Megan Grochulski.”

Grochulski’s 1-year-old son, Owen, has Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH). It’s a curable disease, but treatment for it is extensive and can be expensive.

“Owen has been battling cancer. He’s had chemotherapy treatments. They have been taking him back and forth to Pittsburgh,” Gibson explained. “There are a lot of costs associated with that. And I mentioned to the event planning team that if someone wanted to use Owen as their client, that would be a really nice way to support an Edinboro alum,” Gibson continued.

One of the groups agreed with her and reached out to Grochulski to ask her permission, which she gave. The group is made up of Taylor Allison, Devva Saunders, Rozlynn Jones, Jordan Hewel, Emily Barber, and Katie Henry.

One of them, Jones, already knew Grochulski and wanted to do this for her. 

“I personally know Megan,” Jones explained. “She’s the one who got me my internship at [the] Muscular Dystrophy Association. So, I wanted to do it and I told my team about it.”

The event they put together involves a volleyball tournament and a raffle, along with food and snacks. However, they only had $100 to spend for the event, so they had to be careful in their planning. 

“We were trying to find places that were basically free of cost. So, that’s why we are having it on campus,” Barber explained. “And then we are renting things from like rec sports.”

For the raffle they reached out to local businesses to gain their support and donations for the giveaway. Jones described the response they received as positive. 

“We’re trying to really get the community involved,” Saunders explained. “It’s been fun trying to talk to our friends about getting involved.”

The experience has taught them about more than just event planning.

“It definitely opened my eyes…you really never know what someone’s going through,” Jones said. “We can be there as a team and try to raise awareness.” 

Their efforts have earned them the appreciation of those they’re helping.

“We are so grateful for those putting together this fundraiser for our son Owen and want to thank everyone involved,” Grochulski said. “He has a long road ahead of him and it is such a great feeling to have so many people wanting to help and praying for Owen.”

“My husband and I are both Edinboro University alumni,” she continued. “And it’s so great to see the Edinboro community come together and support our family.”

The event will be held on April 20, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., outside of the McComb Fieldhouse and inside the Pogue Student Center gym. 

The event has a Facebook page called “Project O” for anyone looking for more information, or wanting to get in contact with the group planning the event.

Nathan Hirth can be reached at eupnews.spectator@gmail.com. 

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