Pink Zone Student Group, initially a Sapphire project, goes University-wide

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Pink Zone Student Group, along with partners Relay for Life of Penn State and Zeta Tau Alpha, hosted the second annual Mr. Think Pink pageant earlier this month, raising more than $1,000 dollars for the Pennsylvania Pink Zone, Susan G. Komen and Relay for Life.

The Pink Zone Student Group -- founded by Eric Bodnar, a senior finance major in the Penn State Smeal College of Business -- also recently won the Pink Zone Foundation Penn State Lady Lion Basketball Pink Zone Champion Award for its involvement in raising money for the Pennsylvania Pink Zone.

“The idea of building an organization was enticing to me, and I wanted it to have a lasting impact... I’d love to come back in 10 years and see Pink Zone at Penn State still growing.”

-- Eric Bodnar, Pink Zone student group founder

Bodnar’s involvement with the Pennsylvania Pink Zone began several years ago as a first-year Sapphire Leadership Program student. Sapphire is a program designed for high-achieving students who want to enhance their business school experience through networking, community service and leadership development. All Sapphire students take on multi-year leadership projects as part of their specialized curriculum. The first two years of the Pink Zone Student Group was limited to Sapphire students, but it became an official, University-wide organization for the 2012-13 academic year.

“The idea of building an organization was enticing to me, and I wanted it to have a lasting impact,” said Bodnar.

The student organization raises money through Pink Zone merchandise sales, personal solicitations, corporate donations and events like the recent Mr. Think Pink pageant.

“The business skills I’ve learned through working with this organization have been second to none,” said Bodnar, who served as last year’s president and this year sits on the Pennsylvania Pink Zone board of directors. “I’ve helped to decide how to allocate hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Current Pink Zone student president Danny Ford, a junior finance major and Sapphire student, agrees that his involvement in Pink Zone has been a valuable complement to lessons he’s learned in the classroom.

“This has given me the opportunity to learn business lessons, personal lessons and about the importance of building relationships,” Ford said.

Fundraising for 2012-13 is still ongoing, but the organization is on track to contribute approximately $20,000 to the Pennsylvania Pink Zone this year, according to Ford.

A new president for the Pink Zone Student Group will be selected soon, and Ford will help the group transition to its new leadership. Bodnar, who graduates in May, has accepted a position doing strategy consulting with IBM in Boston, Mass.

“I’d love to come back in 10 years and see Pink Zone at Penn State still growing,” Bodnar said.

The Pennsylvania Pink Zone promotes cancer awareness and empowers survivors through year-round efforts to raise funds to support breast cancer organizations, charities and facilities.

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Last Updated September 10, 2013