Team projects for Management 100 — a staple of the Wharton School freshman experience — are in full swing. Check out what three teams of students are doing:
Students design viral social media campaign — the “Castleman lemon challenge” — to raise money for rare illness
By Kolby Kaller
You may have poured a bucket of ice water on your head for Lou Gehrig’s disease or sported a beard in “movember” to support men’s health, but soon enough you might be smiling with a lemon in your mouth to raise awareness for Castleman disease.
A group of ten freshmen teamed up with the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network for their Management 100 project to create a viral social media campaign and short video series to generate public discussion about the little-known disease.
Idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease is a “rare and deadly illness where the immune system attacks and shuts down multiple vital organ systems,” according to the CDCN website.
A patient with iMCD may only display flu-like symptoms at first, but the illness is as deadly as cancer. Engineering and Wharton freshman Xiaoya Song, a member of the Management 100 team, referred to it as “the deadliest disease you’ve never heard of.”
The Management 100 team was faced with the challenge of creating a campaign that could launch awareness for Castleman disease and CDCN in the same way the ice bucket challenge did for ALS, a condition dealing with nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
Their solution: the “Castleman lemon challenge.” To participate, one simply places a lemon in their mouth and smiles.
“It’s basically an analogy of what patients with Castleman go through,” Wharton freshman Juan Carlos Ortega and member of the Management 100 team said. He added that, “Although they’re suffering and going through this disease, they smile at life.”
David Fajgenbaum, who received his medical degree from the Perelman School of Medicine in 2013 and MBA from Wharton in 2015 and is the co-founder and executive director of CDCN, initially sought the help of the Management 100 project. His organization is at the forefront of raising awareness and research efforts for Castleman disease.
Fajgenbaum’s relationship with Castleman disease extends beyond his contributions to the field, however.
“I have a personal connection to the disease,” he said at a Wharton Health Care Business Conference last February. “It nearly killed me. During my third year of medical school, what started out as fevers and night sweats led to kidney, liver and bone marrow failure.”
Fajgenbaum was diagnosed with iMCD in 2010. His condition became so grave that he had his last rites read. After receiving treatment, he returned to medical school to conduct research on the disease that could have killed him.
“When we heard David tell his story, we were really moved and we knew [he] would be a client we would be honored to work with,” Song said.
Making low-income housing energy efficient
By Kelly Heinzerling
When you think of low-income housing, “energy efficient” might not be the first phrase that comes to mind. A Wharton Management 100 group is looking to change that.
The group is organizing the event “Bridging the Gap Between Public Health, Energy Efficiency and Poverty” for the Philadelphia Energy Authority, an independent municipal authority committed to creating sustainable low-income housing that was created by the Philadelphia City Council and then-Mayor Michael Nutter. The Management 100 group has created what will be the keynote event of the year for the billion-dollar Philadelphia Energy Campaign.
The campaign, launched last February, focuses on “the intersection of public health and sustainable energy,” Wharton and Engineering freshman Emily Tan clarified.
Its goal is to create sustainable energy for people with low-incomes who might not typically have access to this type of technology. These renovations could also help the residents become healthier and prevent asthma and allergies.
The group plans to host its event on Nov. 30 at the PECO Lounge and will be sponsored by Wharton’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership.
The event will be a place for experts in public health, energy efficiency, poverty reduction and housing to come together and “streamline their efforts to try to make these houses more efficient and healthy,” Wharton freshman and group member Chelsea Kibler noted.
The group aims to see an attendance of around 150 people and is hoping to fill the audience with energy experts and Penn professors in the energy and health fields.
The project came to them by way of Emily Schapira, the recently appointed Director of the Philadelphia Energy Campaign. Schapira, who received her MBA from Wharton in 2009 and her BA from the College of Arts and Sciences, was the founder of the Wharton Sustainability Program. Using connections she made at Penn, she brought this new project to Wharton’s Management 100 classes in hopes of revamping the typically smaller annual event.
Group members have taken these desired changes to heart and have restructured the event around three keynote speakers giving TED-style talks that Shapira hopes will showcase successes of community-oriented energy projects in Philadelphia and other cities such as Baltimore and New York.
Group members were drawn to this project as it is a means to not only benefit local communities, but also to have direct interaction with experts in the field. What makes the project unique, Tan said, is that it allows students to work with experts in a segment of the city government and “directly make a change in community lifestyle that’s very visible.”
Management team becomes “Givologists” to raise money for students
By Isabella Fertel
Meet the Givologists, a Management 100 group of freshmen. The main objective and focus of their project is to expand the social media campaigns of their client and namesake, Givology.
Givology is a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting donors to students in need of financial assistance for education or for accessing academic resources. Donations come in all shapes in sizes; Givology uses crowdfunding — best known from the platform Kickstarter — to maximize the amount of donors who help contribute to the cause.
The Givologists have a three-pronged approach to their social media campaign expansion: daily posts, interactive campaigns and trending hashtags.
Social media is the most effective way to interact with donors and to raise awareness for the organization, Wharton freshman Cathy Ding said. The group plans to unravel its new campaign, which will feature Instagram picture cutouts adorned with Givology campaign slogans and hashtags, soon on Locust Walk.
Crowdfunding is not the only unconventional element of Givology’s model. As a 100 percent volunteer-run organization, Givology knows the power of a strong personal narrative — its website features the stories of the students they help, creating a “Humans of Givology” look book.
The students in the Management 100 team are not the first Quakers to be involved with Givology — the organization was co-founded by Wharton graduate Jennifer Chen, who was named in Forbes’s “30 Under 30” list in 2014 for educational innovations through her involvement with Givology.
Currently, Givology has chapters at a handful of schools throughout the nation, either as extracurricular clubs in high schools and universities or volunteer groups.