USC students work around the clock to help local nonprofits in CreateaThon

More than 80 University of South Carolina students, along with teachers and several advertising professionals, volunteered to work for 24 consecutive hours Friday and Saturday. They received no money for their efforts, but the impact of what they did could be felt for some time to come.

USC students show off their marketing campaign for Hidden Wounds during this weekend's Createathon (photo by Allen Wallace).

USC students show off their marketing campaign for Hidden Wounds during this weekend’s Createathon (photo by Allen Wallace).

The group took part in USC’s second annual Createathon. Students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications spent a full day and night developing marketing services for eight South Carolina nonprofits.

The students were joined by USC advertising professor Karen Mallia and eight mentors — professionals from the wold of marketing and advertising who also volunteered their help.

“We had fears, we had tears, we had drama, we had computer breakdowns,” Mallia said, but added that all eight student groups succeeded in surpassing her expectations. “Each in its own way does the job it was supposed to and then some”

The eight nonprofits were picked from a group of 29 applicants. Representatives from each nonprofit spoke to the students before the Createathon and then gathered on Saturday to see what the groups put together.

“We discussed it ahead of time. I gave them some of the things they needed,” said Jessica Albert of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Columbia.

Albert said an event like Createathon can be a huge help to her organization and others.

“As a nonprofit, we don’t have the tools the students have access to,” she said. “We’ll never turn down help, especially with a chance to help students learn at the same time.”

The team selected to work for Columbia’s Cooking! had an even larger task than most. The organization is considering changing its name and asked the students to begin work on rebranding. The students came through with the new name 4Ward and a marketing and branding campaign based on the organization’s four pillars.

Team leader Shannon Rogers said making it happen in 24 hours “was a challenge. It took a lot of time getting our thoughts out and organized. After that, it was easy.”

Rogers said this was her first Createathon experience. “I would encourage everyone to try it. It was a great experience,” she said.

The nonprofit representatives all expressed pleasure with the results of the students’ work. Beth Robinson of Epworth Children’s Home told her team, “I can’t thank y’all enough for what you’ve done.”

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