An IPR Thanksgiving

By Tyler Abell, Michael Bush and Sam Harrison, IPR students

The first rule in Event Production class was that there were no rules. Instructor Scott “Scooter” Nelson told his class they were allowed to do anything for their applied learning project and if it was a success or a failure, it was on them. Students Tyler Abell, Michael Bush and Sam Harrison decided they couldn’t go wrong with 50 pounds of barbecue chicken, dirty rice, mac and cheese, and a DJ filling the room with music.

The students organized an event, catered by IPR graduate Dre, to raise money for the IPR Food Shelf. The food sold out in 45 minutes and raised $200. Students and staff lined up out the door to get a taste of the legendary barbecue.

“The sauce smelled sweet, with just enough heat,” Michael said. “I sat down and took my first bite, and my life changed. My concerns about the event disappeared, my concerns about life, my future, that paper due next week, it all disappeared. Other people may not have shared the spiritual experience I had with this BBQ, but they liked it at the very least. By the end of the meeting we had to turn the last few people away because we ran out of chicken.”

And the only thing better than good food is good food for a good cause. Michael, Sam and Tyler decided the event would feel “hollow” without a strong purpose, especially falling right before Thanksgiving.

“We decided we wanted to show our fellow classmates who may be struggling that we are thankful for them and that we care about their well-being, so the meals came with a suggested $3 donation. All of the proceeds went to the IPR food shelf,” Tyler said.

The event served as a learning experience for the students in the Event Production class. Sam said putting on a successful event really showed him all of the specific details that can play into putting on a successful event.

“It is so much more than just showing up and setting up,” Sam said. “We had worked on planning this event for weeks before it was finally ready to be put on.”

“I learned that when something is being done for a good cause, people show up to support it,” Tyler said. “Even when you’re asking students who don’t have anything to give what they can, they do. After all, we are a family here at IPR.”

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