ELITE Students Turn Marketing Exercise into Fundraiser for Steele Children's Research Center
By Liz Warren-Pederson
This semester, Eller ELITE students — a group of high-achieving pre-business freshmen — took on the first-ever Eller Apprentice 4Ps of Marketing Student Competition. Proceeds of the event, which topped $1,000, benefitted Steele Children’s Research Center.
The Eller Leadership and Integrity Training for Excellence Program students were divided into ten teams. “We had to propose five new products to the UA Student Union administration,” explained yellow team member Edna Enriquez.
“After much discussion, my group decided on the product pizookies, which are half-baked chocolate chip cookies with ice cream on top,” said green team member Krista Johnston. “We then needed to determine what price we would sell the product at, total expected revenue, estimated total product cost, and total expenses.”
Once approved, each team was given a $100 loan for supplies and a defined time period in which to produce and sell their product.
“We had a four-hour time frame to sell the product and we need to sell enough to pay back our loan of $100,” Enriquez explained. “Thankfully, my group broke even pretty quickly and the profit then went to the Steele Children’s Research Center.”
The green team ended up netting the most for the Steele Center. “The night before the sale, my team baked around 200 cookies in a dorm kitchen and made posters that we would use the next day,” Johnston said. “Prior to that we had posted several flyers in bathrooms in a few specific halls as well as made a Facebook group that managed to attract over 900 individuals who said they would attend our event.”
One hour into their four-hour time slot, the green team sold out of pizookies. “Surprisingly, people seemed to know all about the pizookies and simply wanted to know where they were located! Many wanted to buy a pizookie or multiple pizookies, but there were others who just wanted to donate money,” Johnston said.
The team had purchased extra cookie dough, so they decided to push on and see how many pizookies they could sell. “We ended up earning 42 percent more profit than if we would have just stopped when we made enough money to pay back the loan. Overall we had an 82 percent profit margin and ended up making $652 in total profit,” Johnston said.
“After they completed the project, several ELITE students attended a Steele Center Advisory Board meeting to share their experiences and present us with a check,” said Mariana Vazquez, coordinator of special events at the Steele Center. “All of us were so thankful for the time and energy they put into the project, and were thrilled to hear that they came to really care about the Steele Center’s work.”
“Before the competition started, we were given a tour of the Steele Center, and it was touching how devoted everyone there is. That motivated me to do my best on the competition,” Enriquez said. “It felt great to give back, especially when I knew it would benefit many children.”
“The groups visited with two different researchers — Dr. Robert Erickson in genetics and Dr. Melissa Halpern in neonatology — and heard about some of the current research projects being conducted here,” Vazquez said. “They also visited three different outpatient clinics to learn about how we care for children in Southern Arizona — the Arizona Elks Clinic for Children and Young Adults, our hematology/oncology infusion clinic, and the Angel Wing for Children with Diabetes.”
“By participating in this competition I learned just how amazing the Steele Center really is and all the hard work that the people there are doing,” Johnston said. “It was eye-opening to learn how many doctors volunteer their time to help people who would otherwise be unable to pay for the quality of medical care they receive. It was also incredible to hear how brave some of the children are and what they have had to go through.”
“Every dollar counts, especially in an economic climate where state and government funding is down, grants are increasingly competitive, and donors have less to give,” Vasquez said. “The money they raised was incredibly appreciated.”
“This experience has shown me that being an Eller student isn’t just about academics — it’s about really having an impact on the community,” Johnston said. “If anything else, ELITE motivates and makes you excited to be an Eller student.”
Learn more about involvement and leadership opportunities in Eller Undergraduate Prorams.