Pitt Business Classroom Project Exceeds Expectations
Three Pitt Business students recently made national headlines for an assignment they completed for their Advertising and Social Media class.
Bring It Back was created by Craig Bittner (senior – marketing), Jim Fanning (senior – marketing), and Dontez Ford (senior - marketing and finance).
Told to create a video about a social cause, the trio focused on the lack of funding for extracurricular activities in school systems. Sports programs, in particular, are getting cut all across the country. Bittner, Fanning, and Ford acknowledged that sports were one of the most important aspects of their high school experience.
“There are so many instances when extracurricular activities get slashed and students don’t really have anything keeping them there,” Bittner says. “When things that are fun and engaging are taken away, they might not have the drive to do well in school and take advantage of the opportunities.”
Bring it Back is dedicated to restoring athletic programs at western Pennsyvlania high schools, specifically the baseball and softball teams of Sto-Rox High School in McKees Rocks. After watching his former high school’s athletic department suffer from budget cuts, Ford saw the project as a prime opportunity to bring awareness to the limited extracurricular programming available at Sto-Rox.
“Bring it Back is about more than bringing back sports at high schools,” Ford says. “It's about bringing communities back together and giving our youth a vehicle to utilize their skills to create future opportunities for themselves.”
The students’ YouTube video, which has been watched over 2,000 times, interviews Sto-Rox students about the need for more sports funding. One concern is that students may be more inclined to engage in dangerous activities when they aren’t involved in after school sports.
The Bring It Back team set out to raise $4,000. After releasing the video in late February they hit their goal in a week.
Bittner, Fanning, and Ford don’t want to see the sports teams crumble once again, so they established a GoFundMe page to ensure the success of the new teams. In one month, the campaign raised nearly $6,000 in donations. The page states that donations will help “the young athletes at Sto-Rox create memories that will last a lifetime.” All proceeds go toward the student athletes to ensure adequate safety equipment for years to come.
Bring It Back has generated media coverage in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, USA Today High School Sports, and Fitt Pittsburgh. The students want to expand the Bring It Back campaign to other universities and hope other students can borrow from their methodologies.
After three years of absence due to budgetary issues, the Sto-Rox baseball and softball teams were reinstated. Players have been forced to share gloves and other essential equipment, but Bring It Back has managed to give the teams the final push they needed to compete at the level they deserve.
“It feels good to actually take action,” Fanning says. “Too many times people point out a problem but don’t do anything about it. This is a school project that we can actually apply to something real and tangible.”
It is clear that Bittner, Fanning, and Ford took what they learned in in class from the classroom, to the city, to the world. The faculty and students of Sto-Rox High School have benefited.