This article was published in High Country Press.

Students enrolled in ASU’s Principles of Fundraising course will host a benefit for Western Youth Network this Thursday, November 18, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Paolucci’s Italian Bar and Grill.

ASU Students Austin Trotman, Steelie Pope, Cameron Culbreth, Amie Boger and Jessica Langevin planned the event.The main event is a free concert by country singer Chase Rice, an Asheboro native who recently finished competing on “Survivor: Nicaragua,” the latest installment of the CBS reality series.

Raffle tickets will be sold for $2, and Paolucci’s will donate 20 percent of the proceeds from food sold during the event.

Included in the raffle prizes are two big-ticket items donated by the ASU Athletic Department: a football signed by the ASU football team and a jersey signed by wide receiver Brian Quick.

After trying to secure a venue on campus, Trotman said the students turned to local businesses.

“The [owner of] Paolucci’s really seemed like he was trying to help us out a lot and liked the idea of having a concert there,” Trotman said.

Carl Paolucci said the benefit “sounded like a good cause.” He added that Paolucci’s has hosted events for nonprofits in the past, including Habitat for Humanity, and is always open to helping good causes.

“Any other groups looking for some help should just give me a call,” he said.

The purpose of planning the event was to prepare students for their careers. Many are studying public relations, and some are enrolled in the public relations for nonprofits concentration. Their goal is to gain real-world experience in fundraising and event planning.

Trotman said he and his group members raced against a six-week time window to get the event planned. By the time they secured a location, the event was just a month away.

“It put a lot of things in perspective with how much work really goes into planning an event or fundraiser,” he said.

The group learned to use their individual talents as they worked to plan the event and will continue to do so Thursday night.

For instance, Trotman said, Langevin “knows a lot of the people in the community,” so she’ll be greeting people at the door and has helped to get people involved with the raffle.

Pope grew up in Asheboro with Rice and was able to secure his performance at the event, so she’ll be reminding people to stay for the concert after eating at Paolucci’s.

“We would like to see how the event will test our roles in the fundraising group,” said Trotman, who will serve as emcee.

The students, who also sponsored a greeting card sale and a “penny wars” event in the ASU residence halls, have an overall goal of $1,200 for WYN. Their fundraising goal for Thursday’s event is $450, including raffle tickets and food sales.