Students Ask Community to Rock Socks Off for Japan

April 15, 2011--The University of Wisconsin-River Falls Nonprofit Marketing class along with Junior's Bar and Grill are set to host a benefit concert for disaster relief in Japan.

This event will be held April 28 from 7 p.m.-1 a.m. at Junior’s Bar and Grill located in the Riverview Hotel and Suites on Main Street in River Falls. It is an 18 and older event until 10 p.m. and after 10 p.m. on it will be 21 and older. There is a suggested donation of a pair of clean, new socks or $3 cash.

A donation of socks was chosen because a class member stumbled upon a website that suggested that socks are what the people of Japan are in most need of after the massive destruction from earthquakes and other weather phenomena.

“There is water everywhere and everything is soaking wet. No electricity means no power to dryers, which means no dry socks. We thought that this was a unique way to help out and that college students would catch on to it versus having a monetary donation, although those donations are gladly accepted as well,” says Brandon Meyer, a junior marking communications major from Hudson.

Although the marketing students have collaborated with other local non-profit organizations earlier this semester and in previous semesters, never before have they sponsored their own event.

“After the earthquake, I thought about how the class could assist the relief efforts, given that the end of the semester is just around the corner. I tossed the idea out and it has progressed from there,” says David Bonko, journalism lecturer.

Due to the immediacy of the need in Japan, the students’ event came together relatively quickly.

“Following the discussion of possible ways we could help out, the best and most potentially fun answer came to be this benefit concert. It was bold and we had less than five weeks to find bands, a venue and develop promotional materials,” says Meyer.

The students immediately had a surplus of bands willing to play for this cause, and narrowed it down to six local bands. The bands, in order of appearance, include Lotus Goodnight, First Amendment, Windowvine, An Honest Lie, Dirty Blonde and headlining will be Sepia Tone. All bands have volunteered to play for free.

“It’s a pretty good value in my book. Attendees will be benefiting the people of Japan in an overlooked and unique way. Who would have thought there would be this great need for something as simple as socks, something we take for granted?” says Bonko.

This benefit is not only helping the victims of Japan by getting them items they need, it is also providing an outlet for those who want to help.

“Many in this part of the world and country often feel disconnected to world events. By hosting this benefit concert, we can connect with fellow UWRF students and show them that although the disaster happened thousands of miles away, here in River Falls students are helping out in any way they can,” says Meyer.

This project gives students the learning experience they need and is a good demonstration of how marketing communications can be applied within the nonprofit environment.

“My role in this project is just to ask the tough questions that get them to plan how they're going to pull it all off.  They're responsible for defining and implementing things at the tactical level,” says Bonko.  

For more information, contact Meyer at or by phone at 715-781-4729. Visit the group’s Facebook event page at

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