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SFU Business students l-r: Josephine Gunawan, Aren Hanson, Chantelle Buffie, Kenny Wee and Sabaina Ssaif organized a charity drive for their third-year project-management course.

Student project helps rebuild lives

November 18, 2010

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A group of SFU Business undergrads was so successful with their third-year project-management class assignment to collect goods for people rebuilding their lives they’re hoping to make it a regular event.

“We’re not sure where we’re going to take it,” says Josephine Gunawan, one of the five organizers of a charity drive to collect everything from mugs, cutlery and glasses to duvets and pillows for people re-establishing themselves.

“But some of us thought this might be something we could run every year, perhaps making it an annual fun family day while helping out the community.”
The group’s assignment was to manage a project related to sustainability.

“We thought green sustainability was too trendy,” says Gunawan, so she and teammates Chantelle Buffie, Aren Hanson, Sabaina Saif and Kenny Wee came up with their “social sustainability” project, dubbed The Good Drive.

To assemble and distribute what they collected into household kits, the team hooked up with Gather and Give, a local non-profit that provides home essentials to low-income individuals and families, and inventory essentials to front-line community support agencies.

The team set up a website last September to attract attention to the drive, which they held on Sunday, Nov. 7. Team member Hanson’s mother donated the use of her vacant Adele-Rae Florist parking lot on Hastings Street for the event and other local businesses provided refreshments.

“We used a lot of social media to get people out there,” says Gunawan. “We also did traditional marketing flyers through a local newspaper.”

The marks for each team’s assignment was based upon how high they set their project goals and how close they got to their targets.

The Good Drive team’s goal was 500 acceptable donated items and 1,000 hits at their website www.thegooddrive.ca.

The result: 878 household items, more than 5,030 hits and counting, and several hundred people at their event.

“We haven’t gotten our mark yet,” says Gunawan, “but we’re pretty happy with the results, whatever we get.”

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