St. John’s students are giving back this holiday season.
For the second year in a row, students in Professor Jane Paley’s Seminar in Public Relations Campaigns course are organizing a toy drive, which will officially begin in November.
Last year, she said they collected more than 850 toys.Paley said that this year’s class has already surpassed her expectations.
“It’s really very inspiring how dedicated they are,” she said, “I have been blown away by them and how on top of things they are.”
The students in the class have worked for weeks promoting the drive, designing and creating a public relations campaign, Hooper’s Helpers.
On Thursday, the students will be holding a bake sale, during which they will dress up for Halloween and sell candy around campus.
They will also be hosting raffles at a basketball game in November, where their mascot Hooper the dog will make an appearance.
Senior Antonio Arevalo, who is the publicity coordinator for the class, said that the class has seen an overwhelming response from on-campus groups about getting involved.
He said he has reached out to members of the Chappell Players, Campus Recreation and Red Storm Athletics about promoting the drive at University events.
“We want to get smaller interest groups involved so that they can take part in the community we’re trying to build,” he said.
Rebecca Hippolyte, another student, said she worked with the University on getting students credit for participating in the drive.
“Campus Activities and Greek Life are going to give their organizations philanthropy credits for helping out,” she said.
“Several Greek organizations have already volunteered to help.”
Outside of the University, companies like Enterprise, Coca Cola and Kohl’s have pledged to make donations to the toy drive.
Students in Paley’s class said that the enjoyed working on the campaign.
“It’s important to give back to the community and remember your own childhood,” said senior Jason Blake.
Lindsay Vanwinckle aid she feels that the tough times should inspire students to get involved.
“It’s been a tough year for everyone, this will give everyone back some hope,” she said.
Paley said she has high hopes for how the drive, and the seminar, will continue to grow.
“On the strength of those numbers, I decided we would do another toy drive again this semester,” she said. “In the back of my mind is the idea that it will become a St. John’s tradition.”
Drop boxes for the toys will be placed throughout the campus starting in November.