Penn State students plan ‘Taste of Hope’ fundraiser

When Penn State student Katie Fellmeth went around State College with her classmates, she felt like they were being treated as professionals.

As part of a project for her Advanced Meeting and Event Planning Class, three groups had to design and plan fundraisers from scratch, working with locals for donations, locations and all other factors that go into event planning.

Fellmeth, a senior hotel, restaurant and institutional management major, found the experience to be eye-opening.

“It’s really been on us to do all of the work,” she said. “It’s been really enlightening to what the real world will be like.”

The group’s hard work will pay off from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Happy Valley Winery for a fundraiser that benefits Susan G. Komen Pittsburgh Affiliate. The group is selling $20 tickets online for the event dubbed “Taste of Hope,” which will include a cash-only silent auction, five wine tastings, appetizers, a tour of the winery and a surprise gift. Tickets also can be purchased at the door until the 70 slots are filled.

Organizers have been meeting as a group more than five hours a week outside of class, and Fellmeth is excited for the project day to arrive. The plans have come together well over the past few weeks and they are ready for Sunday, she said.

“A good chunk of my free time has been devoted to this,” Fellmeth said.

One of the most nerve-wracking parts for the students can be waiting on the day of the event and not getting a lot of people to show up, professor Jackie Golas said.

Though low attendance doesn’t negatively affect the project grade, Golas said the students are still crossing their fingers, hoping people show up. The other two groups planned a Cupcake Combat event to benefit the IFC/Panhellenic Council Dance Marathon that will be Monday at Rotelli and a “Jeopardy!”-style competition that took place with the College of Health and Human Development to benefit the United Way.

The class is in its first semester, and though it was challenging for the students at times, Golas said it went smoothly overall.

“There was definitely some shaky ground,” she said. “These events are truly ‘from scratch’ events.”

After the events, the groups will present final conclusions and analysis of the results and receive a final grade based on the presentation.