Marketing professor Dr. Jean Wilcox has had a dog named after her and a gorilla adopted in her name.
Wilcox, an assistant professor in the department of marketing and supply chain management in the Fox School of Business, has been teaching entrepreneurial marketing for the last six years. In 2010, she put a spin on her teaching styling and she thinks it has made a major impression.
The original project Wilcox enacted asked students to devise a product and marketing plan. After having a conversation with a colleague about social media, she came up with a way to reinvent the class.
“I had this idea for a project to actually have the students go do something in the real world where they had to raise money for the community or charity,” Wilcox said. “After proposing the idea to the class the energy level exploded.
The project became known as the 10-10-10 Program. The class is split into 10 teams and each team is given $10. Students are instructed to multiply this amount of money through marketing by a factor of at least 10, or $100.
In her first semester running the project, Wilcox had two sections and 20 teams total. She expected students to return with a total “of maybe $2,500,” but to her surprise they came back with $55,000.
“I thought it was a good opportunity,” she said. “I was at a point in my life where I wanted to give back, but I don’t have a lot of money to donate or time to work with a lot of charities.”
The money raised does not just come as cash donations. In what Wilcox calls “kind” donations, goods are donated in place of money.
“So, for example, if Philabundance has a food drive they collect cans,” she said. “That’s called ‘in kind.’ They are valued at the market value of the things that are collected.”
The students aren’t graded by how much money their team raises, but rather by how much they learn.
“A team could raise $5,000 but not get a very good grade on anything else because they may just have gotten lucky,” Wilcox said.
Wilcox said group grades come from various aspects of the project, like table events and tracking financials.
Besides the group project, “there is an academic component and the students do quizzes,” Wilcox said. “That’s how they get a grade.”
Knowing that her classes raised a total of $230,426 since the 10-10-10 Program began isn’t the only reminder of how successful this project is, Wilcox said. A group in a previous semester partnered up with Canine Partners for Life, a non-profit organization that trains puppies to become service dogs. After raising more than $1,000, the group was able to re-name a puppy after their professor.
In 2012, another group partnered with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. They were able to raise enough money to adopt two gorillas, Kubaka and Urahirwa, under Wilcox’s name.
Students are allowed to choose their own charities.
“They had to pick something in which they had an interest or a passion about,” Dr. Wilcox said.
Many charities are reused every semester. Kyle Morris is in a group called TU Dudes for Boobs, which raises money for breast cancer research. It is a recurring group in the class that “came with a pre-made Facebook, WordPress and Twitter,” said Morris, a senior marketing major.
The charity was chosen because three members of the group have ties with fighting breast cancer.
TUDB has a set goal of $2,500, but has raised only $50 so far this semester. Still, members remain hopeful that their events at Maxi’s Pizza, Subs and Bar and Masters Bar and Restaurant will raise more money.
Jennifer Yaksich is part of a group raising money for the Philadelphia chapter of Cradles to Crayons. Her group chose this charity because “they give back directly to the young children in [the Philadelphia] community.”
The members have a set goal of $1,000 and have connected with a church to collect children’s items.
“It feels amazing knowing that … what we contribute to C2C can change a child’s life for the better,” senior marketing major Yaksich said. “Every child deserves to feel valued and is entitled to a rewarding education.”
Wilcox said the class has been very rewarding overall.
“I really believe that in this crazy world we live in today that change is going to come from the bottom,” she said. “I think what moves me most is that these students have done things. And they feel good about it.”
Jane Babian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org