Students hold themselves ‘account’-able for hurricane relief

Members of Bradley’s chapter of Beta Alpha Psi participate in a fundraising event last year. Photo via Beta Alpha Psi at Bradley University.
Members of Bradley’s chapter of Beta Alpha Psi participate in a fundraising event
last year.
Photo via Beta Alpha Psi at Bradley University.

Bradley accounting students, along with other business majors, are working to spread awareness and raise money for hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

After hosting their “Eating with a Purpose” fundraiser at Avanti’s on Wednesday, in which 15 percent of purchases went towards hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, the members of Bradley’s Beta Alpha Psi chapter, an honor society for business professionals, said they hope to continue the rebuilding projects for those affected by September’s tropical storms.

“When the hurricanes hit Puerto Rico and other areas, I was talking to an accounting alumnus in Puerto Rico, and I also had a student in one of my classes whose family is in Puerto Rico, and so we said, ‘Can we do something to help them?’” Simon Petravick, an accounting professor and faculty advisor for Beta Alpha Psi, said.

Petravick also said the chapter’s interest in raising funds started last year while helping chapters at other schools affected by natural disasters.

“Last year, we decided to do some community service projects that benefitted other Beta Alpha Psi chapters that were affected by disasters,” Petravick said. “For these three schools [Nicholls State University, Eastern Carolina University and Valdosta State University], there were floods, hurricanes [and] tornados. We did different fundraisers, and we sent money to the school where they would use it to cover tuition [or other student needs].”

For each school, the chapter raised around $500 for each chapter’s needs. Samantha Newmark, vice president of professional events for Beta Alpha Psi, said a big component of these fundraisers is to serve as a reminder to keep donating.

“These funds, they don’t last,” Newmark, a fifth year accounting graduate student, said. “People give when they first hear about it, but then they forget about that they need to keep giving becase recovery for Katrina took more than 5 years. It just is ridiculous how much time it takes to recover.”

According to Petravick, the recovery efforts for the tornado damage in Washington, IL in 2013 served as a catalyst for the chapter.

“When our community, or our nearby community was hit, people came out of nowhere to help, people we’ve never heard of,” Petravick said. “So when somebody else is hit, and they’re in need of assistance, it’s kind of our turn to come out of nowhere and help them out.”

Vice President of Community Service Blake McCormick said she wants students to remember to put forward the same amount of effort they would expect from others and to count their blessings every day.

“I definitely think it’s important to give back when you can considering something similar just happened to us, and if something were to happen again, we would want other students to give to us, so I think it’s necessary in college just to consider other people,” McCormick, a senior accounting major, said.

Newmark said Beta Alpha Psi will be holding another “Eating with Purpose” fundraiser next semester, potentially at Chipotle. All proceeds raised at these fundraisers will go to United for Puerto Rico, and additional donations can be made online at http://www.unidosporpuertorico.com/en/.