Rice students raise more than $117,000 to benefit pediatric cancer

A team of Rice University students enrolled in the Department of Sport Management’s Event Management course (SMGT 366) raised more than $117,000 earlier this month to benefit pediatric cancer patients and their families.

Christian Covington (center), a former Rice football player and current defensive end for the Houston Texans, poses with Rice sport management students. (Submitted photo.)

Christian Covington (center), a former Rice football player and current defensive end for the Houston Texans, poses with Rice sport management students at the Dodge for a Cure event. (Submitted photo.)

The course focuses on the practical applications of the principles related to booking, planning and executing an entertainment event, including everything from event conceptualization to crowd management to customer service. In addition to analyzing major sports or entertainment events, students are responsible for creating, planning and executing a unique event to benefit Rice and the Houston community. The course is taught by Diane Crossey, a professor in the practice of sport management.

The event organized by this semester’s students, “Dodge for a Cure,” was held April 14 at Rice’s Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center and benefited the Chance for Hope Foundation, which provides support services to children with cancer and their families as well as funding for pediatric cancer research and treatment. The event included a dodgeball tournament with teams of five to eight people. Tickets were $10 per player and approximately 150 people attended. Among the celebrity attendees was Christian Covington, a member of the Houston Texans football team and former Rice football player. The event included food, a DJ and free T-shirts for participants.

Dodge for a Cure 2018

In the weeks leading up to the event, the students raised $117,093. Wyatt Imus, a Lovett College junior and one of the students in the course, was in charge of fundraising. In addition to getting official sponsors, he approached his father, radio personality Don Imus, about appearing on his radio show, “Imus in the Morning,” to promote the event before Imus retired in late March. The interview, along with the students’ hard work, led to more than 100 shares via social media and more than 200 donations.

“It was a great privilege to be able to help all of these kids with cancer and their families,” Imus said. “It was inspiring that we could come together as a class and put on such a successful event.”

The students held the event in memory of their classmate, Blain Padgett, a sport management major and Rice football player who died in March.

“Whether the event is a Super Bowl, a World Cup or a dodgeball tournament, the foundation is the same,” Crossey said. “Creating a vision for the event, identifying goals and objectives, coordinating participants, managing competition, recruiting sponsors and, most importantly, learning how to communicate effectively are all key learnings. This class allows students to learn these skills through hands-on experience while raising money for a great cause.”

The Chance for Hope Foundation was created in memory of Chance Davidson, who died of brain cancer in 2013. Duncan College junior Alexa Davidson, who is majoring in sport management and was part of the course last year, was Chance’s cousin. She was the teaching assistant for this semester’s class.

“The people we have in the class this semester and the resources have really pushed things along,” she said. “I think it’s really cool to see how much we’re impacting the foundation.”

More information about Rice’s Department of Sport Management is available at https://sport.rice.edu/.

About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.