For her senior project, student AnnaKatharine Miehe chose to plan and host an event to benefit the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders, a subject that hits close to home. As a communication arts major with a concentration in global communications and media, Miehe was excited to share her first major crack at event planning with The Ramapo News.
Ramapo News: Tell us a little bit about your event.
AnnaKatharine Miehe: Over the past two semesters, I’ve been planning a 5K walk titled N.J. Walks for Tourette Syndrome at Ramapo College. The walk took place this past Sunday, April 14 on Ramapo’s campus. Day-of registration/check-in started at 1 p.m. followed by the walk at 2 p.m. There was a $10 registration donation fee for Ramapo College students (had to register with their Ramapo email address) and a $22.50 registration donation fee for the general public. The event was rain or shine. I’m proud to say there were 169 registered walkers and as of Wednesday afternoon, the most recent count for money raised was $7,865. There is still a little more money to count so this will increase a little before being finalized. All the proceeds raised will benefit the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders (NJCTS) and their peer advocacy and educational outreach programs.
RN: How did you decide to focus your project on Tourette Syndrome?
AM: The walk benefited Tourette Syndrome (TS) because I have a direct connection with the disorder. My brother was diagnosed with TS in the third grade, so I understand the hardships and struggles people with TS have to go through on a daily basis. He has been my inspiration throughout the entire process, and I am so happy I was given an opportunity to be able to create the walk to benefit my brother and others with the disorder.
RN: How much planning did the project take?
AM: As I previously mentioned, I’ve been planning the walk for the past two semesters. In addition to the walk, which was the main event, I also held a presentation and a Cinematheque screening of the documentary “Tourettes Uncovered” on Feb. 26 in the H-Wing auditorium and held numerous tabling events in which I sold TS awareness bracelets. At the Cinematheque screening, there were 47 people in attendance, which included students, faculty and members from the outside community. I received positive feedback from attendees, many either contributing via donations or registering for the walk. In addition, I sold a total of 200 TS awareness bracelets over the course of the semester. There were other fundraising efforts outside of Ramapo, but these were the main ones that occurred on campus.
RN: What were your biggest obstacles during the planning process?
AM: Time has been my biggest obstacle this past semester while planning the walk. During the fall semester I had more time which made the planning process easier. However, this semester I began interning at Carlo’s Bakery three full days a week in addition to having a full course load on top of planning the walk. Thankfully I’ve always managed my time well, which has helped me get through the stressful times of the semester.
RN: What were your biggest fears before the event?
AM: My biggest fears prior to the event included making sure the main area by the Arch and the route looked professional and well put together, having a good turnout and having nice weather.
RN: What did you hope attendees would take away from the event?
AM: For those who were not associated with TS, I hope they got a better understanding of the disorder and realize the importance of educating people about it. For people associated with TS, I wanted them to know they are not alone and there are many people who understand and support them for who they are.
RN: How did you feel on event day?
AM: The week leading up to the event and the day of was so busy, I didn’t have to think of anything other than making sure everything got completed on time. It was definitely an adrenaline rush. However, event planning is something I hope to do more of after graduation, so I was in my element.
RN: Looking back, how did the event fare with your expectations?
AM: I couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out at the event. I’m very proud of the work I did and fortunately, I had a great group of volunteers who helped the day of to make my vision of the event a reality.
RN: Any final thoughts?
AM: I just want to thank all those who participated in the walk or donated, the New Jersey Center for TS, all the volunteers who assisted me and my friends and family who were a constant support throughout this whole process.