Serving those who served: students raise money for veterans charity in service learning class

vetscheck1Above: The members of Team Giveback, students in the Leading Teams class, present about their project which raised $500 for veterans charity, Operation Chillout. (Photos by Dan Landau)


By Dan Landau

During the fall semester, members of Scott Behson’s Leading Teams class organized a car show to raise money for local veterans services charity, Operation Chillout.

“In this class, we learn about teams, and the main vehicle for that is the service learning project. The students in the class form teams and manage a project to raise money for a charity of their own choosing,” says Behson, a professor of management.

Team Giveback, consisting of business management students Dan Kwasnik, Michael Neumann, Anthony Petrilli, Peterson Louis-Jean, and business administration major Kevin Krastins, chose to raise money for veterans.

“All of us in the group all had a connection with the military. For me, most of my family — a lot of cousins — served in the military. We know that homelessness is a problem for veterans and liked that this was a local charity,” says Kwasnik.

vetscheck2Above: Operation Chillout logistics coordinator and FDU alumnus, Tom Wicklow, BA'14, MBA'16 shakes hands with Florham junior Dan Kwasnik. Kwasnik along with Michael Neumann, Anthony Petrilli, Peterson Louis-Jean, and Kevin Krastins hosted a car show to raise money for Operation Chillout.


“Also, in researching the project, we looked at different charities and we liked that about 90% of a donation to Operation Chillout goes to the veterans they serve, instead of paying for overhead,” continues Kwasnik. “With bigger charities, dollars go out, but only dimes come back.”

At the car show, held in November at the Delaware Township School in Sergeantsville, N.J., participants paid $10 to exhibit their car. Overall, the team raised nearly $500 for Operation Chillout.

Operation Chillout is an all-volunteer outreach organization dedicated to ending homelessness for veterans in New Jersey and Northeast Pennsylvania. Founded in 2000, the group distributes donations of food, bottled water, toiletries, and clothing and also serves as a bridge in the gap between homeless veterans and other service agencies.