By Sarah Siock
With the coronavirus pandemic still spreading across the globe, people are continuing to spend more time at home than ever before. While many are growing tired of lockdowns and the work-from-home lifestyle, peoples’ pets are enjoying the constant care and attention they are receiving. Rider’s chapter of Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) is encouraging students to show off the quality time they are spending with their furry friends throughout the pandemic with a pet photo contest.
The contest was created in collaboration with the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) as a fundraiser where students pay $1 to vote for their favorite pet. The donations will go to the nonprofit as well as DECA’s funds to help the club attend the International Career Development Conference next year. DECA’s mission is to prepare its members to enter into business careers after graduation.
Submissions and voting will take place digitally for the contest to follow coronavirus safety guidelines. Throughout February, students submitted a photo of their pet on a Google Form and DECA members posted the photos to their website. Submission entry closed on Feb. 23 with 12 students submitting photos. Now students can vote for their favorite pets through mobile payment apps. Voters simply send $1 to DECA members and make the caption of their donation the name of the pet they would like to see win.
Those running the fundraiser hope it will bring joy to this stressful time.
“I was researching possible virtual fundraisers when I came across the idea for a pet photo contest. I thought, ‘there is nothing better than looking at cute dog photos.’ Everyone is stressed with the pandemic and constantly being on Zoom. Now they can take a break from it all and scroll through the pet photos on our website,” said junior accounting major and DECA member Sleyker Tarifa.
DECA members also spoke about the difficulties of fundraising during a pandemic.
Similar to many other Rider clubs, raising money through virtual events has proven to be a difficult task. Previously, the club relied on door-to-door fundraising, which is no longer possible. The pet photo contest is a way to involve the Rider community and raise funds in a socially distant fashion.
“Our events have been completely different this year. With the International Career Development Conference virtual this year we shifted the goals of our club. Now we focus on our members gaining knowledge in various areas by branching out and meeting with other clubs,” said senior business administration major and DECA Events Coordinator Genevieve Santasieri. “We have partnered with the business analytics club and the communications department. Our events have gone from preparing for the conference to helping our members grow as individuals.”
Santasieri added that while DECA is a business club, all majors are allowed to join. The club hopes the changes they have made during the pandemic will help them grow for years to come.
“We are trying to branch out. We are a smaller organization, but if people are looking for something to do during the pandemic our club is a great way to learn and grow as a person,” said Santasieri.
While the pet photo contest will be DECA’s only fundraiser this semester, the club plans to host events such as professional development and business analytic workshops.
Voting closes for the pet photo contest closes on March 23, but students are welcome to vote as many times as they would like for their favorite animal until then. For more information about the contest contact email@example.com or visit rideruniversitydeca.weebly.com.
Published in the 02/24/21 issue of The Rider News.