To ensure that when they return to campus, they can also visit many of their favorite places and organizations, undergraduate students from the Ross School of Business have organized virtually to launch fundraising efforts for Ann Arbor’s small businesses and nonprofits.
“The fundraisers were initiated by the new members of the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity to support local organizations and the people behind them through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said DSP member Harika Kolluri, BBA `22.
“We saw how hard it’s been for small businesses around Ann Arbor without students around, and we really wanted to do something that would benefit them,” explained Kolluri. “We came up with two different ideas for fundraisers, and every member of our 105-person fraternity supported our efforts by donating money and sharing them on social media.”
Coordinating and executing remotely, the Ross students, led by first-year Clara Shen, BBA ’23, created a GoFundMe page to raise money for longstanding Ann Arbor organizations, including Avalon Housing, Moon Cafe, BTB, and the Michigan and State theaters, among others.
They also started a fun “Instagram Dare” fundraiser to engage their social media followers. Members posted on their Instagram stories a graphic containing a menu of options, such as posting a childhood or embarrassing photo on Instagram, each tied to a certain donation amount.
“The fundraisers have been really successful, and it was great to see that even students and alumni who we didn't know were donating large amounts,” said Kolluri. “I think this shows that people care about their campus and don’t want to return to campus without many of the places and organizations they’ve come to love.”
As of April 21, Kolluri said the fraternity members have received more than $1,200 through the fundraising efforts and are still going. The next step will be to contact the businesses themselves and find out how they can best use the money.
Kolluri believes what motivates the fraternity members to support the Ann Arbor community relates to the morals they were taught growing up as well as the positive business principles they were introduced to at Ross.
“We’ve all been raised to know that if you have a roof over your head, and you have a little bit extra, you should give back to your local community, because for the business owners this is their livelihoods,” she explained. “At Ross, positive business is a topic we’ve been taught a lot about and that mentality also makes us want to support the community.”
Kolluri said the fundraising efforts have helped keep the fraternity connected after in-person classes were canceled due to the pandemic and most returned to their hometowns.
“These fundraisers have provided us with something to work toward together while we’re apart, and since this is something we’re all really passionate about it, it’s one way we’ve been brought together during this time,” she said.