Giving Help, Giving Hope

Volunteers working with homeless people.

Marketing students in the IU Kelley School of Business Indianapolis gave new meaning to learning in partnership with the community as they executed a marketing plan to raise awareness and money for homelessness in central Indiana.

The experience left a lasting impression on both the students and Professor 
Kim Saxton. Their engagement and commitment impacted the cause, but also provided real marketing lessons students can’t learn from a textbook. “These students got firsthand experience at doing research with a target audience. Now, they are better prepared to design effective promotions in the future,” says Saxton, a clinical assistant professor of marketing at Kelley Indianapolis. They also learned how much effort goes into such projects and got a taste of realizing a goal, Saxton notes.

Homeward Bound, held in December 2011 at the Indianapolis City Market, is an annual walk and demonstration to draw attention to the individuals and families who live without homes. In Indianapolis alone, it is estimated some 3,000 children were homeless at some time in the past year. The Kelley student effort raised more than $48,000 and encouraged hundreds of individuals to participate in the walk.

The effort resonated with students and opened their eyes to opportunities they had not considered. “This project has really encouraged me to look into the nonprofit sector,” said Fatima Hussain, who did public relations for the project. Experiential learning opportunities at Kelley Indianapolis remain key to the success of future business students. IUPUI recently was ranked third in the nation as an “Up and Coming University” due in large part to the campus’s focus on student learning by doing.