Making accounting enjoyable to students is a hard task for many faculty members, but not Kathleen Fitzpatrick, associate professor of business technology.
Fitzpatrick assigned her accounting class a project that required them to support a local charity by planning fundraising events. The class chose to sponsor a child with a life-threatening illness for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northwest Ohio.
“Many of the students say accounting is fun after taking this class. I think it’s great that my students feel this way after completing the project,” Fitzpatrick said.
“When we were given the assignment I thought, ‘How does this relate to accounting?’” 20-year-old Ellie Sharkey recalled. “Every day it becomes more and more understandable, and now I realize that this project has a lot to do with accounting.”
The project gave student’s real-world experience in managing people, delegating responsibility, budgeting, decision-making and marketing, Fitzpatrick said. However, she felt the most important part of the assignment was bringing the class together and teaching them how to give back.
Fitzpatrick said the assignment inspired her students. “They put a lot of time and effort into this — more than I would have ever asked of them,” she said.
“It’s been great contributing to something other than a normal class project. This allowed us to help out someone who has been through a lot,” said 22-year-old Lindsay Smith.
The class sponsored a 16-year-old boy named Billy, who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He didn’t speak much, but he wore a smile the entire time he recently visited Fitzpatrick’s class on Scott Park Campus.
His wish is to see the Manchester United soccer team play in Manchester, England.
Billy came to the class with two Make-A-Wish representatives and accepted gifts and informed the students about his trip to England.
He will be accompanied by his best friend, mother and stepfather on the trip. Not only will they watch Manchester United play, but they also will do some shopping, take a VIP boat cruise on the London Eye River Cruise, and visit local museums.
Billy is a senior at Sylvania Southview High School and plans on attending Owens Community College in the fall to play soccer and major in culinary arts.
The class playfully teased him for choosing Owens instead of UT.
Billy just laughed and one of the representatives said, “Sorry, UT doesn’t offer men’s soccer or culinary arts.”
In order to sponsor Billy, the class broke into four teams. Each team conducted a different fundraising project.
One team organized two bake sales, one on Main Campus and one on Health Science Campus. Just at the Health Science Campus sale alone, the team raised more than $300.
One of the representatives thanked the team and told them that $300 will cover two days of food for Billy and his three guests.
Another team organized a charity concert that took place in Rocky’s Attic on Main Campus last month.
A different group raised money to purchase and sell pizzas to students in the dorms and at the charity concert.
The last group partnered with a local bar, the Annex, and arranged for a percentage of cover charges from April 22 to go toward Billy’s wish.
A representative said that wishes are not usually granted as quickly as Billy’s but with the class’s contribution, he is going to London sooner than anticipated.
According to its Web site, the Make-A-Wish Foundation is a national organization that grants wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. The wish experience provides hope, encouragement and a carefree experience to children and families whose lives revolve around doctor visits and harsh medical treatments.