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Penn State Smeal management course collects more than 10,000 cans of pet food as class project

December 21, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Despite the effects the coronavirus pandemic has had on event planning and philanthropy this semester, one undergraduate class in Smeal was able to set record numbers in its contributions to charity. 

Instructor Neil Fogarty’s Management 326: Organizational Behavior & Design class raised and donated 10,375 cans to Centre County PAWS, a local non-profit animal shelter. 

The fundraiser was executed by 43 undergraduate students who were broken up into eight teams with the following team leaders: 

  • Team 1: Frances Sudakin
  • Team 2: Joe Santavicca
  • Team 3: Seamus Young
  • Team 4: Gabby Garofolo
  • Team 5: Mike Sikora
  • Team 6: Megan Kirkbride
  • Team 7: Nolan Lamb
  • Team 8: Braden Rauco

 Team 3 collected the most of all the teams, and Justin Fisher, one of its members, collected the most of any student. 

This is Fogarty’s fifth pet food drive. He has previously done them with classes at Penn State Beaver and Greater Allegheny. Since beginning the drive in 2017, Fogarty’s classes have contributed more than 31,000 cans to local animal shelters. 

In comparison to prior years, collection efforts were primarily done virtually this year. 

“As a result of coronavirus, instead of physically collecting cans, almost all of this drive was done online, raising money that was then turned over to PAWS to buy cans of pet food,” Fogarty said. 

The fundraiser was part of a number of team-oriented projects that the class had to complete throughout the semester. 

“I am a believer in having my students get hands-on, practical, real world experience,” Fogarty said. “This [project] was related to [Organizational Behavior] topics of forming effective teams as well as ethics and social responsibility.” 

He and the class believed in the cause so deeply due to the continued work that must be done for animal care despite the ongoing pandemic. 

“Animal shelters like PAWS still have to care for homeless dogs and cats, and they have to do so when their budgets are being cut and when donations are down.,” Fogarty said. “This is an immense burden for them, and one of their biggest expenses is food for the hungry animals in need.” 

He says the credit for the work belongs to the class because of its phenomenal work in raising more cans than all prior classes despite the disadvantages surrounding the pandemic. 

Over a two-week span, the participating students were able to learn about experiences of ethics and social responsibility while embracing the Penn State spirit around the holidays. 

“[The class] helped the homeless animals, the shelter, our Centre County community, and our university as well,” Fogarty said. “Well done!”

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