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The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

Students trick-or-treat for charitable change

The Gannon University chapter of Habitat for Humanity is continuing its excellence in fundraising. Despite only being a four-year-old club, the organization has been exponentially increasing its contributions to the Erie community and the world at large. Habitat’s recent fall event – Trick-or-Treat for Change – is just a part of the club’s established fundraising record.

On Halloween, 34 students involved in Habitat for Humanity dressed in costumes and went door to door asking people for change donations, according to Gretchen Fairley, director of service learning.

Fairley said that the concept of Trick-or-Treat for Change is what makes the event so popular.

“It’s nice because when you’re in college, you don’t do trick-or-treat anymore, but I think the students get a kick out being able to dress up again and trick-or-treat the way they used to when they were kids,” Fairley said.

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But instead of asking for candy, the Habitat participants ask for change donations. The targeted neighborhoods aren’t caught off guard, though, as Fairley said that the group hands out fliers warning the community that the college-age trick-or-treaters will be stopping by.

Ashley Forbes, a senior sport and exercise major and president of Gannon’s Habitat for Humanity chapter, said that notifying the neighborhoods with fliers in mailboxes and on front doors is the toughest part of the event.

“None of us are too terribly familiar with the areas,” Forbes said. “It’s always a bit chaotic, and this year was no exception. Just to be sure that you only flier each house once and trick-or-treat there once, but you get all the houses so they know we’re coming.

“We’re going to have to figure out a way for that to be perfect, but there’s no real good way to go about it.”

Fairley said that Halloween is an opportune time to collect door-to-door donations in that most residents are available during the holiday.

“One of the nice things about Halloween is that you know people are going to be home,” Fairley said. “With most door-to-door collections, it’s a toss-up as to whether the people will be at home.”

This year, Trick-or-Treat for Change netted $934 for the club to donate, according to Fairley. Over the last two years, the Halloween event raised more than $1,000 each year. Despite the slight decrease, Fairley said the fundraiser was still a success.

“It’s a smidge down from last year, but barely noticeable,” Fairley said. “I’d say it’s comparable to the last two years.”

Forbes said that the community has responded to Trick-or-Treat for Change pretty well.

“It’s encouraging to the neighborhoods because a lot of the money does stay in the area,” Forbes said.

According to Fairley, the idea for Trick-or-Treat for Change originated from a Habitat for Humanity conference that the Gannon club attended three years ago. She said that the Habitat conferences have been instrumental in giving Gannon’s Habitat chapter ideas for fundraising opportunities.

“The conferences have really bumped them up in terms of the activities that they know about and given them a lot of good ideas of how to make it a lively club,” Fairley said. “It’s not just about the building but also about what kinds of contributions they can make to the community.”

Natalie Reynolds, a junior physician assistant and liaison to the Greater Erie Area Habitat office, attended this year’s Habitat conference in Indianapolis.

She said she came away from the gathering with several promising ideas for fundraising events in the future of Gannon’s Habitat chapter.

“Overall, my experience at the conference was awesome,” Reynolds said. “It was such a great opportunity to network with other campus chapters and find out what has worked for them and what has not.”

Fairley said that the inclusion of two big fundraisers – Trick-or-Treat for Change in the fall and Hire-a-Habitater in the spring – have drastically improved the amount of money that Gannon’s Habitat chapter has been able to donate.

“Once we started doing these fundraisers, our donations were able to just skyrocket,” Fairley said.

In 2008 – Habitat Gannon’s first year – the club donated $50 locally to the Greater Erie Area Habitat for Humanity and $50 to a Habitat International office. Then the following year after the implementation of the two fundraisers, the organization donated $250 locally and $250 internationally.

Last year, the donations rose to $500 both locally and internationally.

DAN KUBACKI

[email protected]

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