SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - When the 20 Slippery Rock University students from Bruce Orvis's "Sales Management" class head to Italy Thursday for a spring break study-abroad opportunity, they are going to make someone very happy. The class will log approximately 225,000 frequent flier miles they have decided to donate to benefit the regional Make-A-Wish Foundation. The idea was the brainchild of Kimberly Arntz, a business management and marketing major from Elizabethtown, who is currently interning with the foundation.
"I learned about their frequent flier program as part of my internship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and put two-and-two together deciding to donate my miles. Then, the idea hit that my classmates could also join in, I asked them - and they did," Arntz said.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Pennsylvania and Southern West Virginia, where she is interning, will award the miles, which are most often used to grant wishes to allow children, ages 21/2 to 18 with life-threatening medical conditions, and their family, to visit Walt Disney World and other locations, including Hawaii and Florida.
Founded in 1980, the foundation grants a child's wish every 40 minutes because of the generosity of others.
Arntz said she hopes the idea of donating frequent flier miles catches on for others at SRU undertaking spring break academic trips. Make-A-Wish has agreements with a number of airlines that allow their frequent flier points to be transferred. Those airlines include USAir, United, Continental and Delta.
"The idea was good," Arntz said, "because most students don't travel enough to accumulate enough miles before the points expire, so they lose their miles. This way, someone gets to use them."
Make-A-Wish reports about 75 percent of wishes involve air travel, the most expensive part of granting a wish.
In all, some 315 SRU students will use their spring break for academic work as part of 16 international academic trips. The trips are part of spring semester courses at SRU in which students undertake their studies on campus and then use spring break to travel to international countries to complete course work and gain hands on experience.
During the March 14-22 spring break, students will travel to Italy, England, Turkey, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Spain and the Bahamas.
Frequent flier points can be transferred by registering online at: http://www.wishgreaterpa.org.
Additional information on SRU's spring break international travel program is available at: http://www.sru.edu/PublicRelations/newsInfo/Pages/030113c.aspx.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.