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Events Marketing and Management Majors and RISE Team Up for Community Event

By Alex Wilson, December 18, 2020

Events Marketing 2020

Madilyn Hackett, a UCM alumni and the events manager at RISE Community Services in Warrensburg, and Sydney Baynham, communications intern at RISE and current UCM student, visited with students in the Events Management course in the University of Central Missouri’s Harmon College Business and Professional Studies during the fall semester to hear students’ ideas related to a fundraiser to benefit the RISE Autism Program. Gathering for a photo were class members and guests, (front row) Kaye Scott and RJ Appleberry; (back row) Shiya Shakur, Rachel Schultz (via Zoom), Noah Sweeney, Hackett, Baynham, Sarah Edington, and Caitlyn Harrison.

WARRENSBURG, MO – Students in the Events Management course, a class offered through the Events Marketing and Management Major in the University of Central Missouri Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies, recently finalized a proposal with RISE Community Services in Warrensburg for a fundraising event in 2021. The event is currently titled Puzzle Palettes and will give community members an opportunity to help support efforts to aid individuals with autism.


RISE, an acronym for Respecting Individual Skills and Efforts, is a local community services organization that seeks to aid differently abled individuals. The organization provides many services and conducts various events to benefit individuals in its service area, including a fundraiser which raised nearly $28,000 for the RISE Autism Program this year.


Students in the Events Management course have hosted previous events as well, including Snapshots of the Burg, a collaboration with course students and Warrensburg Main Street. This event allowed community members to compete for prizes by taking photos representative of the Warrensburg community.


“Having done [Snapshots of the Burg] last year, I feel more excited this year because now I have seen how these ideas become a real thing and this thing actually happens and it really affects the community,” said Keira Solon, assistant professor of business communication. “I am excited, the students and RISE have been working on this for about the past four months.”


In April 2021, which is Autism Awareness Month, community members who take part in the event will purchase, in advance, a paint kit from event organizers that includes a tile, paint and paintbrush. After doing so they will participate in a virtual paint along party that will guide them in decorating a tile that will be pieced together with other Puzzle Palettes painted during the event. This collage, representative of the Autism Awareness ribbon, will then be presented as a mural in downtown Warrensburg, which will be visible for years to come. All proceeds from Puzzle Palettes will be used to help fund the RISE Autism Program.


While the event is a means to raise money and awareness for RISE, it also serves as an opportunity for community collaboration at a difficult time. Additionally, the collaborative mural will serve as a Warrensburg landmark and is a great opportunity for community members to help enhance the downtown area.


Puzzle Palettes was one of several ideas pitched to RISE by students in this year's Events Management course. Of the pitches presented in the class, RISE will help culminate Puzzle Palettes and a virtual talent show event in the near future.


Two UCM juniors who helped create the event concept, RJ Appleberry and Noah Sweeney, will continue working on the event next semester with students who participate in the Advanced Management course. Both students are looking forward to being able to help move forward with their idea during the spring 2021 semester and are excited to be able to help RISE.


“The idea was to construct the Autism Awareness ribbon, not only to help RISE but to beautify downtown.” Sweeney said, “We are really passionate about this because now that it has been chosen [by RISE] it is real, it is really happening, I am really glad that we are going to be able to help RISE. It is also going to help us start our careers in events.”


Appleberry echoed this sentiment noting, “We are very excited that our event was chosen. I am glad that we are going to be able to do something to help the RISE community. I like being able to do things that allow me to be able to help those who need help, who need financial help, who need attention in the future.”


More information about Puzzle Palettes will become available in the spring semester as the Advanced Management course finalizes details. For more information, contact Keira Solon at


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