Monday, October 21, 2013

Get to know WWFF leaders

Silvia Lorenzini - Marketing Chair WWFF Headquarters Team

I'm a Senior in the Ross School of Business, minoring in Program in the Environment. I am also a part of the Graham Sustainability Scholars Program, a small group of students interested in sustainability leadership and practice. I started with Will Work For Food my Sophomore year when I became the University of Michigan Campus Director for the social entrepreneurship company, Two Degrees. By collaborating with the past WWFF Chapter President, Julie Sherbill, I worked to make a partnership between the two organizations. This work initially sparked my interest in social entrepreneurship and the double-bottom line. I first started as the Director of Social Media, working on the facebook page and Twitter. I then took over as Director of Marketing, and I have been working with the WWFF Chapter Reps on their marketing strategies. My current project is a promotional video for the organization.  What truly inspired me to continue my work with WWFF was my work in rural South Africa this summer. I saw the effects of malnourishment on many amazing children, and I became even more motivated to alleviate it.

After graduation, I hope to join organizations like the Peace Corps or Teach for America so I can learn more about the issues I am passionate about. My hope is to use inspiration from this work to start a social venture of my own. I would also like to obtain a dual MBA and MPH (Masters of Public Health) so I can gain a better educational foundation before I begin to grow the venture. Besides my interests in social entrepreneurship and international work, I am a huge musical theater nerd (mostly because of my high school theater experience). I also love music and playing the guitar, and I hope to improve my playing skills when I am a second semester senior. Most importantly, I am a dual US-Italian citizen, and I love anything involving Italy, especially the food!

Furman U. hosts clever fundraiser

Furman University recently hosted one of the most innovative, creative, and most importantly, au natural ways to raise money for our cause: Mustache March for Malnourishment. Pretty witty name, no? We recently interviewed one of the brave men who sported a mustache for the entire month--Zach Greene.
How did you get involved? Why?
In regards to how I got involved with WWFF, my friend Sarah Caldwell (who is the chapter president at Furman) and I had been talking about starting a non-profit organization branch at Furman, and Will Work for Food seemed like a great organization to be affiliated with. Also, our friend from high school Ben Vollmer, who participates in the Will Work for Food chapter in Chapel Hill, had suggested the organization as a great non-profit to be a part of.
What about Furman University makes it a good place for WWFF?
Furman University is comprised of students who are willing and able to invest their time and effort into activities outside of the academic realm, which made the Mustache March for Malnourishment fundraiser easy to manage. It's difficult to generalize, but I'd say Furman students are cognizant of problems that are globally relevant, such as malnourishment, as well as problems that affect our nation specifically, such as widespread hunger. Ultimately, the Furman students who participated in Mustache March for Malnourishment showed the initiative to sacrifice their time in order to raise money in order to help a cause that they felt was of great importance.
Tell us about the work effort. What did you do to make it succeed? How did you market it on campus?
Initially we put flyers up around campus advertising Mustache March for Malnourishment, stating, "Support your favorite mustache" and "Your change makes a change." I felt like getting big donations from college students would be difficult, but "tapping into" their parents and Furman alumni would yield the biggest donations. We spread the word through email to our peers and our professors, and we also made a large poster that we put up in the dining hall with the pictures of the contestants with mustaches. Ideally next year we will get the Furman president Dr. Smolla as well as other Furman faculty members to grow mustaches in support of the fundraiser.
Tell us about the contestants who participated. How did they raise money? Any funny stories?
The contestants who participated were: Dakota Derrick, Zack Houghton, Parth Thakker, Michael Kelly, and myself. I was skeptical all along of my mustache growing abilities, and I knew that some of the other participants would not have my same difficulties. When we came back from spring break, our friend and contestant Parth Thakker already had a much thicker mustache than any of the other participants, and proceeded to tell us that he had already shaved twice for a family wedding. My friend and roommate Michael Kelly had to compete in multiple track events (200m sprinter) with a mustache, so I'm sure that was entertaining for his competitors. Other than constantly being asked if I had lost a bet, or if I was rushing for a frat, or being called "sir" outside of Furman, not too much was different with having a mustache.
Any future plans to raise money for WWFF?
We intend to hold Mustache March for Malnourishment again next year at Furman. Ideally, it will be an intercollegiate competition, each college raising a minimum amount of money between the contestants and then competing for the prestigious award "Best Mustaches in America." This year's fundraiser was quite the learning experience for Michael Kelly, Sarah Caldwell, and I, and I think knowing now what goes into managing a successful fundraiser, we should expect to see a great increase in the amount of donations raised for next year's Mustache March for Malnourishment!
A big thanks to Furman University for this clever idea to raise money and awareness for child malnutrition!