UVA Class Raises $25K for 15 Charities in Charlottesville - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVA Class Raises $25K for 15 Charities in Charlottesville

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Students in a University of Virginia School of Commerce class are giving back to the community in a huge way this holiday season.

They have collectively raised more than $25,000 for 15 charities in the Charlottesville area through a class assignment.

Faculty members in the commerce school wanted to take a more hands-on approach with the project management course this semester. Through a lot of hard work and creativity, the students are learning valuable lessons and making a big difference. UVA third-year student Luis Ortiz is taking away concepts like budgeting and organizing through his project management class. He and his four teammates organized HackVirginia for their semester-long assignment to benefit the charity of their choice.

“We decided we would do a hackathon, kind of with the theme of Computers4Kids,” Ortiz said.

They were given $500 of seed money to make their idea a reality. Ortiz said, “Students came together in groups of five and developed some sort of software that could benefit the community, so you could do an iPhone app, Android app or some sort of website.”

More than 100 students from colleges around the commonwealth came together in UVA’s Clemons Library Friday for the 24-hour event. Corporate sponsors including Amazon, Google, and Capital One sent representatives to set up information booths. The hackathon raised $6,000 for Computers4Kids.

“What better way to teach project management than to actually have people run real projects,” said Jason Williamson, who teaches the project management course.

Williamson says it's a great way for the students to apply what they learn.

He said, “The experience is great because not only are they saying this is what I learned in class and this is how we executed it, they're actually able to see in the community where the work that they did in class is affecting lives.”

It’s an impact Ortiz is seeing firsthand.

“I learned the importance of being able to execute an event really well and to please all the stakeholders and also Computers4Kids - just being able to help them. It's a great feeling,” said Ortiz.

Ortiz says they hope to make the hackathon an annual event.

Students in the project management class are now getting ready to write a retrospective for their assignments.

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