Students team up to lead hurricane relief efforts

Appalachian State University students and community members came together October 10 to help those affected by recent hurricanes.

The students, members of Executive Impact Club, the Association of Student Entrepreneurs and the Appalachian Supply Chain Club in the Walker College of Business (WCOB), coordinated donations and volunteers to create hurricane relief buckets for Texas and Florida residents who were affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The supplies packed included laundry detergent, household cleaner, dish soap, clothespins, sponges, trash bags, insect-repellant spray, work gloves, scrub brushes and dust masks, packed in 5-gallon buckets.

Items were donated by campus community members, who were also invited to join in the bucket packing event.

Executive Development Coordinator and Adjunct Instructor Ken White suggested his executive skills class participate in the collection, packing and sending efforts.

"At the WCOB, we emphasize academics, but we also emphasize core values like ethics, leadership, social responsibility and service to others," said White. "I challenged our students that social responsibility can be from embracing sustainable business practices to being a part of something bigger than yourself."

White, who previously served as a US Marine and has helped with cleanup efforts in Hurricane-stricken communities in the past, said the response from Appalachian students has been tremendous. "I am so proud of these students," he said. "I am honored to serve alongside them."

The students teamed up with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) on the effort.

"UMCOR will get the buckets to where the greatest need is," said Wade Hampton, an Applied Data Analytics student and Executive Impact Club member. "Walker College students plan to develop additional relief efforts will take place this semester to assist those in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Island."

Bucket LidsThe students included hand-written notes in the packages and penned positive thoughts on the bucket lids.

"We want to send more than just goods, we want to send hope," said Appalachian Supply Chain Member and MS in Applied Data Analytics student Logan Edwards. "I can only imagine what's it's like to scrub your home after such a disaster; we hope the positivity we're sending will make it a bit better."

According to Executive Impact Vice President Talana Bell, the group delivered approximately 50 buckets to Boone's UMCOR.

"It was truly a team effort and definitely for a good cause," said Bell.

Walker Fellow President Kelsey Grundner added that the bucket-packing is the first of many goodwill efforts to help the hurricane victims this semester.

"This is the first time that we have come together like this, said Grundner. "We hope to host future events such as T-Shirt sales and penny wars to get even more students involved."

Members of more than 20 business-oriented student organizations at Appalahian will team up to collect donations of water, canned food, and money to send to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The consolidated effort, which Grundner calls 'Walker Cares,' will continue through the fall semester.

Grundner said Walker College clubs have found donors to provide transportation for the goods and donors to collect the items after they arrive in their destination.

White added that social responsibility is a core area of focus for Appalachian's MBA Program. He has instituted a 'buyback' program in his executive skills courses, allowing students to earn one credit for a class absence through his or her participation in an approved service opportunity.

Regarding the buyback program, White said, "The response has been tremendous. Beyond the hurricane relief work, we have students working with youth groups, traveling to nursing homes, helping disadvantaged individuals and more."

The mission of Walker College is to deliver transformational educational experiences that prepare and inspire students to be ethical, innovative, and engaged business leaders who positively impact our community, both locally and globally. The document also encourages faculty members to participate in service activities that make possible transformational educational experiences and to serve the community, as White has.

To learn about the numerous opportunities available daily in the Walker College, visit

Walker College of Business Dean Norris, second from left, with AppState Executive Impact Club members Tim Walker, Logan Edwards, Teea Wan and Wade Hampton assemble flood buckets for hurricane relief.
Published: Oct 19, 2017 4:54pm