Chapel Hill – A little competition never hurt anyone; in fact, it can do a lot of good. That seems to be the teaching strategy of UNC professor Gary Kayye.
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Kayye teaches a new media technology class for the UNC journalism school. He teaches two classes, and each one executes a fundraising campaign for their final project.
“I pit one class against the other,” says Kayye, “They have to create an event that raises money for a non profit.”
If you’re involved with UNC campus life you may have seen his students’ work on campus, or on your Facebook and Twitter timelines.
“Both of them are very creative,” Kayye says, “Both of them have had enormous engagement.”
UNC seniors Kelly Crupi and Tricia Cleppe are the captains of the two competing teams that have created a campus-wide buzz.
Cleppe’s team is known as “Heel Heist for the Monday Life”. The Monday Life is a non-profit that helps child patients feel better and heal faster by improving their hospital environment.
“By helping the Monday Life we’re helping buy iPads for children that are stuck in bed to play games on, as well as other resources that make their experience a little better,” Cleppe says.
The campaign raises awareness of their cause through “Scamzees” – a prankster whose catch phrase is, “Doing a little bad for a lot of good.”
“Scamzees decided that since UNC has such a strong athletic tradition, the best way to grab attention from people is to symbolically kidnap athletes around campus,” Cleppe says, “We released videos showing these athletes being a little paranoid, and having Scamzees kidnap them. We did that to raise a ransom, which is 1,000 dollars.”
Scamzees kidnapped UNC men’s basketball star PJ Hairston, men’s soccer players Tyler Engel and Jordan McCrary, and four gymnastics team members: Kristin Aloi, Haley Watts, Christina Pheil, and Margaret Brown.
Students are encouraged to attend the “Heel Heist” Thursday night to raise money for the athletes’ ransom, which will be donated to the Monday Life.
Crupi’s team is hosting Throwback Thursday UNC, better known as “tbtUNC”. The campaign gives UNC students, most of whom were born in the 1990s, a chance to reminisce on their childhoods.
They’re hosting the “Baby Got Throwback Bash” Thursday night.
“We’re going to have a DJ and a live band playing covers of the top hits, and we have over 1,200 dollars worth of prizes to give away,” Crupi says.
tbtUNC raises awareness for their event through social media, with different themes each day. On “Trivia Tuesday,” for example, they ask a trivia question about the 90s on Twitter, and offer prizes to students who answer the questions correctly.
Guests at the event Thursday night will pay a cover, to benefit Camp Kesem.
“It’s a camp for children from ages 6 to 16 who have a parent who either has or has had cancer,” Crupi says, “It’s a one week camp in the summer. It’s basically an opportunity for them to have fun, and not have to think about the fact that they’re dealing with such a devastating thing back at home.”
Students in Kayye’s class may not need a blue book or a scantron sheet for their final project, but Cleppe says the pressure is still on.
“You just really don’t know how much work goes into these types of campaigns until you’re in the middle of one.”
That’s exactly the hands-on lesson Kayye says he planned for the 2 classes.
“They’re doing this in real life,” Kayye says, “Instead of them creating a graphic for a company that doesn’t exist, or creating a social media campaign for something that doesn’t exist; they’re actually invested in seeing it be successful.”
Cleppe’s and Crupi’s teams face off Thursday night as they both host their events at bars on Franklin Street. “Heel Heist” will be held at the library from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. The “Baby Got Throwback Bash” will be held at R & R Grill from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m.
For more information about Scamzees and the “Heel Heist,” click here.
For more information about tbtUNC and the “Baby Got Throwback Bash,” click here.