Buena Vista University students will participate in the Muscular Dystrophy Labor Day Telethon again this year with hopes of raising $5,000. This is the 16th year BVU has been producing the local telethon.
The telethon not only raises money for a good cause but it also provides experience for students at BVU who are involved in the university-run television station and those who simply want to volunteer for a heart-melting cause.
Cody Fitzpatrick, a media student from Storm Lake who also serves as the general manager of the station under the direction of advisor Jerry Johnson, is this year's producer. Last year he operated a camera throughout the telethon.
"I don't know why, but I love live events. Anything can go wrong and that adds to the excitement," he said.
He has a few words to viewers, "If you've watched our telethon before, you can expect a big change. We are adding more entertainment which will be better for the viewers and the hosts."
The telethon will run from 9 a.m. Monday to 5:30 p.m.
Students will be manning telephones for pledges being called in, operating cameras, taking care of the tote board to show the progress of the pledges and a host of other in behind the scenes jobs.
One of the new features is live music, performed this year by the band, "Here's My Chance" of Des Moines. The band has performed at EdgeFest and EdgedOut concert events and will also be at the university Sunday performing at 6 p.m. in the ballroom.
Another new feature to get more people involved is the "Put your Professor in Jail" event. The professors will look for donations of $100 to get out of the makeshift jail which will be on the set of the telethon and students can donate money to keep them in jail. This is sure to be an entertaining addition, Fitzpatrick feels.
Also providing live entertainment will be members of APO, the campus theater group.
Local businesspeople will appear on the set and present their checks and receive the recognition they deserve. One of the largest sponsors is Fareway.
There never seems to be a problem getting enough students to conduct the telethon.
"It provides good experience for the students," said Johnson. "It's a full-scale production. The students commit their time on a holiday. It truly is a service-learning experience and that's our mission here at BVU."
BVU alum Clint Hughes and now owner of Kenpo Karate is also committed to helping with the telethon. On Friday and Saturday, a training camp will be held for martial arts enthusiasts of all degrees welcome. Hughes has made special arrangements for Bill "Superfoot" Wallace of Florida to be present. Wallace has the reputation of one of the best throughout his 15-year career. (Please contact Hughes at 749-0777 if you are interested in taking part in the camp.)
Cost to take part is $75 with $25 being donated to MDA or $50 and at least $50 in MDA donations.
On Sunday, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m., the MDA break-a-thon is set. Make a donation to MDA and a board with your name written on it will be broken. Karate demonstrations will take place for. the public at Chautauqua Park.
Camera crews will be filming some of the action for cut ins to run during the telethon.
Students will be collecting donations as well, standing at the intersection of Lake Avenue and West Third from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. with canisters for motorists to drop money into.
The BVU-produced telethon will be broadcast on MediaCom or Knology Cable Channel 3 in Storm Lake, Lakeside and Alta.
To make your pledge, call 749-1201. There will be three phone lines.
Twenty-five dollar donations will earn a silver star on the tote board; $50 donations will receive a gold star. It is the hope of Fitzpatrick that the board will be filled with stars.
"Watch and give," are the producer's final words.