We often grow up with the dream of changing the world, however as we go through life we fall in to the daily grind of work, school, family and a busy social life. Soon this dream fades, as our schedules fill up it slips further away until it seems unattainable. However I am writing this post to show you this dream is not unattainable. It seems like it was just a few weeks ago that I sat down with a team of 14 ordinary Business 200 students. Tonight those same 14 students not only rekindled that hope in themselves and many others but they achieved that dream and I hope this post will encourage you to do the same.
We just wrapped up our 13th annual Listening House Silent Auction and I write to you after a 15 hour day of nonstop stress, struggles and ultimately success. I am exhausted, relieved and mainly in awe of our individual ability to change the world. Listening House is an amazing local organization. They are a homeless shelter in downtown Saint Paul across from the Excel Energy Center. In 1983 they were founded by Patty Dease (some of you may recognize her as Father Dease’s sister) on the basic principle that everyone, no matter what race, class, or stage of life they are in need a place to call their home and need to be felt they are heard. This is the principle they have successfully continued to operate and the principle we support with this auction.
Over the last three years I have had the pleasure of helping with this event and every year I find myself a little more inspired than the last. As stated earlier just a few short months ago 14 students, Dr. Gorski, and I sat down in a room. We promised we would help these students meet their Business 200 requirement of 40 hours of service to the community if they promised to help us put on this event. We expected them to plan, market, budget, and solicit over 30,000 dollars in donations, most of them looked at us as if we were crazy.
Many of them, much like myself, were extremely busy balancing a heavy course load, a busy social life and multiple jobs and/or internships. Most of them had no fundraising experience or a clue what Listening House was or what they did. However after a few motivating speeches, a video or two and a short visit to Listening House they put the skills they and many others have learned at the Opus College of Business to use and they rose to the occasion. Over the next few months they met with officials on campus, sought help from various family members, friends, professors, local businesses and generous individuals. They not only successfully planned, marketed, budgeted, and solicited enough donations to put on this event but did so in a manner that will keep guests coming back year and year again.
If you were to ask any of them at the beginning of this auction if they thought they could raise enough money to help keep hundreds of homeless individuals off the streets they more than likely would have said no. However at 11:00 p.m. tonight as we sat huddled around a sheet of paper, adding donations, ticket sales, auction revenue and subtracting our costs it hit us that is exactly what we had done. We, a group of 14 average everyday students had raised roughly 30, 000 dollars. It was hard to comprehend. This was enough money to give hundreds of underserved and disadvantaged individuals who we had never met a place to call home. Sure we may have not solved the issue of world hunger or cured cancer but we had changed the world for these individuals.
So what am I getting to through all this rambling? Although it may seem that goal is long gone and nothing but a piece of foolish childhood ambition. That dream is far from dead. If 14 average everyday students can achieve that goal you can too and from the bottom of my heart I want to encourage you to chase that dream. You will find with a defined goal, the right amount, organization, a strong team spirit and a few skills you have picked up along the way you can make a significant difference in the world.
By: Justin Lind, BUSN200 Coordinator