A foundation event for funding student futures
by Jenelle Franklin
The road to funding student success was made of yellow brick at the 32nd annual Mardi Gras fundraiser celebration, titled “Mardi GrOZ.”
The event, a “Wizard of Oz” themed fundraiser held in a decorated ML building raised money for the Washtenaw Community College Foundation.
“There are 600 plus scholarships each year,” Phil Snyder, new associate vice president of the WCC Foundation said.
Snyder has worked in the non-profit fundraising industry for over 32 years, most of that time spent in higher education.
Foundation scholarships offer students the opportunity to attend classes, get help with cost of textbooks, daycare and more, students are the priority at WCC, Snyder mentioned.
Students were able to volunteer their time via Campus Connect. Those in the advanced photography and culinary arts programs contributed during the evening through volunteering their skills. Graphic design students were involved in the production, as well as Phi Theta Kappa honor students, who were thanked in the opening remarks.
Ice carvings crafted by students were lit up with colored lights on display at the hors devors table.
“The whole carving process took about 6 hours,” Jason O’Rear, wcc culinary student said. “we use led lights underneath so there isn’t any heat dispersed,” O’rear said.
The Mardi GrOz theme started in the slumbering mind of Rose Bailey.
“It’s something I saw in a dream, “ Bailey said. “I wanted to make this room have Emerald City in the back of it. Everyone had fun, they get to be creative and enjoy themselves…thanks to everyone behind the scenes, they really go above and beyond,” Bailey said.
Culinary students displayed their work in the center of the room, and walked through the crowd cheering with a mix of appreciation and anticipation.
In the kitchen, stations were run by Chef instructors and students ranging from the hot foods, to desserts and cold foods. Students used their culinary skills to deliver appetizers and a three course meal to attendees.
The menu, finalized in January, offered 3 guest chefs from the culinary program a chance to return to their roots at WCC.
Executive Chefs: Kyle Kooyers of Fabulous Foods, Ramon Herrera of LHS and Gary Marquardt of the University of Michigan all graduated from WCC’s culinary program.
“It’s great of them to come back and give their time to help students carry their craft forward,” Bailey said.
Guest sommelier, Aren Stobby, a WCC graduate helped guests throughout the evening, appearing at all three bars, including the whiskey bar aside the photobooth and making rounds during dinner service.
The toast by Dr Rose Bellanca thanked everyone for their hard work and contributions to making WCC a place like no other, and making another Foundation fundraiser a success.
“There’s no place like WCC,” Bellanca said.