It’s not just another class project.
Seven students from the College of Business Administration organized the fourth annual Barefoot Benefit as part of an independent study class.
All proceeds will be donated to Samaritan’s Place, which provides emergency housing for the elderly and the poor in the area. In addition to the race, the event will also feature live music and fall activities.
Casey Fitzgerald, a senior in marketing and the chief executive officer of the project, said working on the project has brought academia to life through experiential learning.
“This has been the most beneficial class and project I’ve ever worked on,” Fitzgerald said. “It has taken the lessons I have learned in the classroom and made me implement them into real life situations. It’s taught me hands-on professionalism, networking, business analytics, accounting, business development, fundraising – every aspect of a business that is discussed in my business classes is put to use in real life with the Barefoot Benefit.”
Elizabeth Duffey, a senior in marketing and vice president of marketing for the Barefoot Benefit, said she wants students and the Knoxville community to recognize Barefoot Benefit as more than an assignment.
"I know I’ve had a couple of people ask me, ‘Oh is this a project you’re doing,’ and I’m like, 'No, it’s an event we are putting on,'" Duffey said. "So I think that’s something we want to get out is that this is something we want students to be a part of and have them be involved with … in like a community thing.”
The class of seven agreed that the most rewarding part of the project is assisting an organization that serves the community.
“These are people who have been on the streets and really have nobody to take care of them and can’t take care of themselves,” said Ernest Cadotte, a professor of marketing and supply chain management. “They may be at their last straw in terms of life for themselves, so they rescue them, so to speak, so it may start off as emergency shelter and then they kind of work them up, the idea being getting them to the point of being more self sufficient.”
Cadotte, who serves as the advisor for the project, said he loves teaching such an interactive class.
“I really enjoy working with the students one-on-one,” he said. “They’re all involved, invested, emotionally committed and I get to see how they evolve, how they change, how they take on more responsibility and take ownership of everything that they’re doing."
The 5k race and fall festival will take place Oct. 27 at Cherokee Park.
Registration for the race begins at 12:30 p.m., and the race begins at 2 p.m. Students and senior citizens can register for $20, all other adults for $30 and children ages 12 and under for $12. Those that register on race day are subject to an extra $5 fee. The registration fee includes access to the race, a T-shirt and a reusable water bottle.