School projects, even when tackled with zeal and excitement, rarely leave the classroom. Regardless of how successful or unsuccessful a student’s work may be, its greatest impact tends to be on a student’s final grade.
At Augusta University in Augusta, Georgia, professor Marsha Loda frequently assigns group projects to be presented in class. When she appointed this one, there was no way she could have known how seriously her students would take it.
Loda wanted students in her business class to plan an event for the school.
The assignment was simple: plan an event for the school and go through the channels to have it produced. One group of students in her class was thinking bigger, though.
“I said, ‘Well who do you want to do an event for?’ and they said, ‘downtown,'” Loda said to WRDW.
Encouraged by her support, the students started to think of ideas as a group. What was something that was both useful to the city, and something they would be interested in?
“We basically just sat around the table one day at class and just spat ideas at each other, and said what’s going to improve Augusta?” Madison Hollimon, one of the students involved with the project said to WRDW.
“What benefit are we going to chose to improve Augusta and bring more people downtown?”
The students decided to design an event aimed at helping the homeless.
Their plan was called “Bridging the Gap,” and was a fundraiser for groups that work with the homeless population. The dinner party was to be held on the Fifth Street Bridge, which the city intends to convert to a pedestrian walkway.
“We wanted them to say ‘Yes, let’s put it together. When’s the date?’ so that was great,” Hollimon said. “It was awesome to hear them say that.”
With all aspects of the event planned to the best of their ability, they took their school project to the city commission chamber. To their delight, it was met with support.
The city embraced their plan, and are putting their own departments to work on it.
What started out as a school project became a city proposal, which in turn became a city plan.
“Really proud of my team members and myself for killing it when we presented the event we planned to the Augusta Commission yesterday!” Erin Willingham, another student involved in the project said on Facebook.
The plan is to have the event scheduled for the fall, which would minimize the chances of the outdoor dinner party being rained out.
“I am just so happy for the students for them to really see that stuff that they work on can truly make a difference,” said Loda.