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Fanshawe volunteers shine like crazy; raise $13,000!

Christine Thomson | FSU VP Internal | Lifestyles | September 19th, 2005

Over the last 4 months, about 90 per cent of my time has been devoted to a little fundraiser you may have heard of called Shinerama. It has been around since 1964, and is done at 57 colleges, universities and institutions. Over 35,000 students participate each year, and this year, Fanshawe was represented by about 200 of them.

Shinerama raises money for the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. This was my third year being involved, and my first year in a leadership position, much less in THE leader position. When I first went to the national conference in May, I really had no idea what was I was going to do. But after hearing from some truly inspirational speakers, I realized that this is an incredibly important thing for Fanshawe to be doing. My favourite part of the conference was being surrounded by over 100 students who cared. Who wanted to make a difference. Who wanted to lead their student body in a fun and exciting day. Heck, one of the Brock leaders even shaved her head. (Sorry guys, but my hair is my high point!)

I spent hours upon hours calling sponsors, getting monetary donations, food donations, and volunteer gift donations. I called locations all over London to try to convince them to let Fanshawe students come out and “shine” in front of their stores even though they had some crazy experiences with Western students. I cut stickers, photocopied until Carol found out I used up all the toner, put together 200 donation boxes, made a trillion phone calls, ran out of business cards, used up the majority of letterhead sending out requests of all types. I helped build a website, pick out t-shirt designs, recruited students all over campus, and said my Shinerama speech so many times, I think Howard can quote me. I organized BBQs and residence blitzes, sold bracelets, and sold candy in buckets at 1:00am on the streets of London.

By Thursday night of last week, I almost broke down. I was convinced it was going to be a bust. I was inconsolable. and my boyfriend couldn't say anything to make it better. (Which of course, must have meant he thought I was a failure. Not that I was being unreasonable. Never.) I don't think I have ever sweat so much in my life. But I promise, to everyone who saw me wearing a Shinerama t-shirt everyday last week, I have four, and I washed them. Promise.

I was at school at 6:30am Friday the 9th. You may have seen all the Tourism and Hospitality students out raising money by holding a raffle with a grand prize of $500 tuition money. The day ended at 6pm, and a friend and I counted the money until 12:15am. These students raised $3,311.80, which is more than double their total from last year. Sooo….needless to say I did a very crazy happy dance. (Think Fat Monica from Friends.) Yes, this dance was something I am glad was not caught on tape. Quietly though, because except for Erin and I, everyone else was sleeping.

1:30am Friday. Finally starting to fall asleep.

4:00am Saturday. Wide awake, it's SHINE DAY. It's my day! My faithful crew and I were at the school by 6:30am, setting up for volunteers.

8:30am it was still quiet. Here comes the sweating again. So nervous. This day cannot be a bust, I worked too hard.

9:06am they start to pour in. I almost did the dance again.

9:30am. We sent out two rented buses into London. And with their guitars, they sang all the way to their locations.

12:30pm. Lunch delivery. Going out and seeing all our Fanshawe kids working hard, raising tons of coin, I couldn't have been happier. People were having a great time, and they were kicking Western's butt at hard work.

3:00pm. BBQ. Students were rolling back in and they filled out ballots for some great prizes, and had a free BBQ. And then it was over; everyone slowly trickled out. Five of us stayed back to clean up and put the money into plastic baggies. (I have never used so many plastic baggies in my life than over the last two days.)

At 6:00pm we were outta there. And obviously, I started to count the money that night. Too bad I fell asleep halfway in the dirty, dirty money. So when I woke up, I kept counting. And late Sunday afternoon… was over. And our grand total was over $13,000. My goal was to raise $10,000. And let me be the first to say, we FLEW over it. Like a BLUE SHINERAMA STREAK OF LIGHTING.

Last year I mailed out a cheque for $7,574. Not only were we able to reach our goal, but we were able to almost double our total from the previous year. And no offense to the next Vice President Internal Affairs, but HELL YEAH THE BAR HAS BEEN RAISED!

Over the last four months, I can't count the number of times I cried. And I can't count the number of times I laughed. I can't count the number of times I brought work home and did it all night. And I definitely can't believe it's over.

From here, I need to thank all of our sponsors, donors, and anyone who did anything to help make this a successful day for Fanshawe and the CCFF. And it's ironic, but we are out of Shinerama t-shirts, and its only the second week of September. Pretty sure that's a Fanshawe record. Usually, we are still giving them out the next year, saying they are great prizes.

So if you are looking for me this week, and you can't find me, it's because I am manually rolling all the coins that were raised. But I do have my faithful boyfriend, helping me roll all of the money. And he has been sure to let me know what a great helper he has been. He's also made it very clear that I “owe” him and I don't mean money.

If there was ever a time over my college and university careers that teachers told me hard work and no sleep will pay off, it is now that I finally see what it does for you. All my hard work paid off more than I ever expected it to. And the lost sleep...well I can catch up in December on Winter Break.

Thanks to everyone who helped with Shinerama. I appreciate all of your help and I look forward to seeing all of you over the rest of the year.
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