UQ Business School Students at the peak of charity12 May 2010

Seven UQ Business School students are preparing to climb Mount Everest, all in the name of charity. Team co-ordinator Fernando Ponce said the postgraduate students from Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore, Chile, and Peru were completing the Royal Children's Hospital Foundation (RCHF) Everest Virtual Challenge as part of their Entrepreneurship and New Ventures course. "It is a walking challenge during two weeks where you and your friends or co-workers attempt to walk to the virtual top of the world," Mr Ponce said. Instead of physically climbing Everest, Mr Ponce said the team would wear pedometers to count how many steps they take, collectively walking the same distance of the famous mountain climb. "The aim is to walk a combined total of 2.1 million steps and at the same time having fun, getting fit and helping to work wonders for sick kids," he said. As part of their Entrepreneurship and New Ventures course, students associate themselves with a not-for-profit organisation, and Mr Ponce said they chose the RCHF 'because of its invaluable contribution towards research and support to sick children in Queensland'. "We formed the team because we were bound by a common passion to helping children despite our different cultural backgrounds. The Foundation funds support services within the Royal Children's Hospital and wider Health Service District to ease the lives of sick kids and their anxious families every day," he said. Supervisor Martie-Louise Verreynne said the group was 'doing an excellent job for a worth-while cause'. "This aspect of the course contributes to student learning in two ways. It provides students with a hands-on experience of business. They are learning many valuable lessons, not only about business creation, but also in terms of managing teams, bootstrapping for finance, and so on," she said. "It also raises awareness of the many social ventures that are doing important community work with very limited resources." With more than 150 students in the course, the RCHF is just one of many organisations UQ Business School students are working with. "The students are working on diverse projects this semester, which include both for-profit and non-for-profit projects," Dr Verreynne said. "It is challenging for the students to plan and execute a project within a semester, but the students are coping with those challenges, and learning about the issues that will face them should they choose to start their own ventures one day." And while Mr Ponce and the rest of the team will gain vital enterprise experience helping the RCHF, he said 'meeting the requirements of this challenge is only one of the goals that we are hoping to achieve'. He said the group would go even further in supporting the RCHF by promoting the event and encouraging others to join the Everest Virtual Challenge. "Most importantly, we hope to contribute whatever we can to RCHF," he said. "In fact, our group has established a Mission Statement called "Every Step Counts" and has embraced it as a group name. Through our participation in promoting awareness and soliciting registrations for this Virtual Everest Challenge, we could actually reflect this. That to us is the major goal of this project. Not to mention, our group has become even more close-knit during the project process." To register a group for the Everest Virtual Challenge, or for more information on the fundraising event and others held for the RCHF, visit www.workingwonders.com.au.
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