Eighteen students in a content marketing class at Webster University donated 717 pairs of socks to the homeless as part of the Chevrolet Local Marketing Associations College Marketing Program contest.
Mark Spewak, a student in the class, said he and his classmates wanted to turn the contest into an opportunity to give back to the community.
“What we’re doing is actually going to help somebody and I think that’s the coolest thing,” Spewak said.
Chevrolet gave the Webster marketing class $2,000 for the competition, which they used to hold an event and shoot a 30 second video. The class put all the socks they purchased in the back of a Chevy Spark and had other Webster students guess how many pairs of socks were in the car.
Spewak said the class wanted to not only highlight Chevrolet for the contest but also benefit a local organization. He helped deliver the socks on Dec. 13 to Places For People, a nonprofit organization that provides services for the homeless and those who struggle with mental health.
Places For People Communications Coordinator Chris Stalter said socks are high on their list of necessities, but donors often forget about them. Socks are just as essential as coats and other clothing in the winter, Stalter said.
Bombas is a sock company that donates one pair of socks for each pair sold. Stalter said receiving donations from companies like Bombas is always good, but Webster’s donation felt different because of the time the students put into the project.
“It’s pretty stunning the work that they went to for us,” Stalter said.
Webster’s donation came at a time when the weather started to decline in the St. Louis area. Stalter said Places For People gave a portion of the socks to its outreach program and kept a portion at its main location on Lindell Boulevard.
The class named the marketing campaign “Chevy Cares”. Assistant Professor of Advertising and Marketing Communications Terry Sullivan taught the class. Sullivan guided the students throughout the project, but he was not allowed to help them directly.
Sullivan’s class presented its campaign to members of the Chevrolet Local Marketing Association along with two classes from Lindenwood University. Webster’s class took first place in the competition.
Sullivan’s 18 students took about two class periods to come up with their event and donation plan.
“One thing just kind of led to another,” Sullivan said. “I don’t think it was really just one person. I think it was a collaborative effort.”
Kristina Ingersoll delivered the socks to Places For People with Spewak. Other students in the class already went home for Christmas break so Ingersoll and Spewak kept the class updated with the delivery.
“It was very neat to see our class come up with such a selfless idea and then actually execute it,” Ingersoll said.
This was the first time the Webster marketing class participated in Chevrolet’s marketing contest. Sullivan and the students received a trophy that they will keep until the next competition.