Fundraising Through A Pandemic


Art/Photo by Samantha Takeda

Many fundraisers have been canceled following California’s strict stay-at-home orders, but West High ASB members stay optimistic having planned many fun events this virtual school year.

Alexssa Takeda, Co-Editor-in-Chief

    Stussy Sale, Pier to Pier Walk, Finals Food Sale — traditional and familiar fundraisers that have been disrupted by 2020. As we proceed through 2021, fundraising is still a priority. But what exactly goes into creating a successful event, especially during such a unique year?   

   Micah Taw (9) described the process of planning his first fundraiser as the Freshmen Class Co-President. He explained that “the Ding Tea fundraiser takes a lot of time planning. It’s a lot of emailing back and forth to reserve a specific date.” Unfortunately, some restaurants aren’t open for fundraisers, while others are still in the process of reopening from the recently lifted stay-at-home order. Just finding a safe location can be difficult. Another difference between previous years is that the approval process has gone entirely online. These fundraising events must be approved by board members, the Activities Director, and the class advisor before it can be set into motion. But Taw was up for the challenge, saying, “[I] was actually excited to plan something fun for my class especially how this year is much different.” 

   Despite the unfortunate effects of the pandemic, the Senior Class has still found success in their fundraising events. Senior Class Vice President Yuri Onimura (12) guessed that it might be due to a mix of cabin fever and the prolonged isolation many people have become familiar with. “It’s always exciting to see people outside of your close quarantine bubble. And just to see their faces and talk a little bit and catch up is good,” Onimura explained. With the one-year anniversary of state-wide school shutdowns approaching, meeting a few friendly faces at the occasional school event can make it a little less lonely. “Plus,” Onimura continued, “you’re helping a good cause.” Compared to previous years, the senior class noticed a 150% increase in sales, which she thinks might be from the opportunity to socialize.

   Senior Class President Riley-Piper Takenaka (12) also proposed that people might be more likely to attend because they are on the weekend instead of on school days. “Not a lot of people really want to go out during the school day because of homework and stuff,” she expressed. With extracurriculars, advanced classes, sports practice, and other afterschool responsibilities, some students might not find the time to support these fundraising events. But thankfully, this year ASB has been able to schedule more weekend dates, leaving a larger margin of people available to come. 

   ASB Vice President Reni Wong (12) shared a strategy her team found that increases student turnout: hosting events at exclusive locations. She discussed how ASB has tried “holding fundraisers at institutions that are typically not fundraisers for other grades, which makes it more appealing to other people like [the] Smashburger fundraiser.” Wong noticed last year’s Smashburger event was a hit among the seniors. ASB decided to recreate this hype and curiosity with their choice of Aloha Pizza & Shave Ice Company fundraiser on February 13th which earned $190.

   Another recent fundraiser set up by ASB was at Panda Express for sophomores on February 15th. Arushi Bagchi (10) attended the event and described the fast-food restaurant as a great choice due to the chain’s popularity and tasty American Chinese menu. The only thing she had to note was the advertising method; “A lot of my friends who don’t have social media or aren’t active on Instagram weren’t really aware that there was a fundraiser.” With much of the world being forced to go digital due to the pandemic, ways to promote school events are limited. Nonetheless, the fundraiser seemed to be a success.

   Although there isn’t a sign of the annually anticipated prom night, seniors can still look forward to graduation gifts, drive-ins, and other fun events funded by these sales. And even though rallies aren’t taking place in the gym this year, these funds go towards making the virtual rallies just as entertaining and memorable. 

   If you are a boba lover, don’t forget to drop by Ding Tea to support the freshmen on February 23rd! More detail can be found at @whs_classof2024 on Instagram or on the ASB website. See you there!