The MBA students at the Sam M. Walton College of Business (University of Arkansas) coordinated a community outreach project in April 2010. The idea was simply to raise awareness for the leading cause of death in America today. In order to optimize our connections, contributions, and human capital, we joined the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk in Northwest Arkansas. We formed Team Walton MBA and began recruiting all current MBA students to join the cause. Of our current 73 full time students, 32 joined our team and actively contributed by raising money or lending time.
Our primary goals were to raise money to benefit research advances and raise awareness of the causes of heart disease. The MBA Student Advisory Council spearheaded the effort, led by John Hafer, Honey Brinkley, Alan Slindee, Ankita Kumar, Alex Kieslich, and J.R Carter.
After working through some fantastic ideas, our decision became clear to us after a discussion in our Retail Marketing class. Dr. Thomas Jensen, Professor, and Department Chair of the Marketing & Logistics Department, began telling us of his involvement in and around Northwest Arkansas and how he is an advocate for the American Heart Association. As a survivor of heart disease, Dr. Jensen has suffered one severe heart attack and has had multiple life-threatening incidents while fighting this deadly disease. His story touched so many students and ultimately swayed our decision to support the American Heart Association.
Working with the American Heart Association, our strategy was on raising money for the Heart Walk in Northwest Arkansas, which took place on April 10, 2010 at the Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, AR. Our team got together and came up with three primary fundraising strategies:
- Get as many people as possible to be active with the Heart Association’s web-based donation portal, and use this to reach others by training them to use their email and facebook applications.
- Start a contest to raise money. First-year faculty volunteered time and money to participate in a “pie your professor” competition raising additional funds for a very worthy cause.
- Organize a bake sale. This initiative really helped us because a lot of people were willing to bake a cake or pie, but really didn’t want to solicit any of their friends or loved ones for monetary donations, so this was a great chance for them to get involved.
Team Walton MBA raised almost $3,300 for the American Heart Association and the Northwest Arkansas Heart Walk.