Alaska campus student group goes on a roll for shelter benefit 

March 21, 2011

ANCHORAGE – Wayland Baptist University’s Anchorage campus and its student chapter of the Society of Human Resource Management have proven that you can do a good deed and have fun at the same time.

The group recently collected 4,650 rolls of toilet paper for a local homeless shelter called Bean’s Café in an effort they called The Great Alaska IditaRoll Drive, a takeoff on the annual dog sledding event called the Iditarod. The collection was delivered to the center on March 14, the day before the Iditarod wrapped up.

According to SHRM president Bonnie Dorman, who will soon earn her MBA from Wayland – Anchorage, the group has done other projects for the shelter, including boxes in December that include toiletries, hats, gloves and other items to benefit the 500 clients of the shelter, 80 percent of which are working poor.

Dorman said when they delivered their boxes in 2010, center director Jim Crockett mentioned how fast the shelter goes through toilet paper: around 72 rolls each day. The SHRM group decided to tackle that project, originally setting a goal of 1,150 rolls to match the mileage of the Iditarod race.

“We started on January 24 and within a few weeks had already passed that goal, so we kept it going once the spring term started,” Dorman said. “People had so much fun with this. It was really the community coming together and everyone working on it. Students went out and collected from people they knew, and the faculty really got involved too.”

Dorman said the group used the event to educate people about the shelter and the plight of the homeless in Anchorage and people really seemed to be touched. 

“What came out of this is how humble it made people and how we take such simple things for granted,” she said, noting that the SHRM chapter also gives three scholarships to the general student body each year and is active in service projects. The chapter started in 2007 and has about 12 members.

Eddie Campoamor, who serves as assistant executive director for the campus, said he believed the drive made an impact on many.

“I truly did not expect this drive to touch so many people in such a personal way; perhaps it is because donating toilet paper is so easy and yet, at the same time, it is something so necessary for all,” he said.

Dorman said hearing about service and giving back is a common theme in her Wayland classes and she has enjoyed the experience while working on her master’s degree. She is employed as a budget analyst at Elmendorf Air Force Base contracted through Bright Vision Technologies.

A former active duty military member, Dorman said she returned to Alaska in 2005 after retiring and decided to go back and complete her undergraduate degree started many years earlier. She finished her BAS in 2008 and enrolled immediately in the master’s program on recommendation of her professor and the SHRM faculty advisor, Dr. Dave Rambow.