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PR student pursues her passion while helping others

Losing a loved one to cancer can affect people in many different ways. But for West Virginia University student Elizabeth Snyder, it gave her a passion to help other children affected by the disease through working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“I saw my friend from high school get a wish granted before he passed away, which has inspired me to help get more wishes granted,” Snyder said. “I saw the happiness it gave him, and I want to be able to contribute to as many kids as possible.”

Snyder, a public relations junior from Fairmont, is pursuing this passion of hers by creating a new student organization called Wishmakers on Campus.

As an intern for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northern West Virginia, Snyder was assigned a project to work on over this past summer. She chose to create and plan a week on campus dedicated to raising money and awareness for the foundation.

“I talked to Brett White from the Center of Civic Engagement for advice on how to go about planning this event, and he told me I should consider founding a student organization,” Snyder said. “It brought me back to square one.”

“Square one” refers to Snyder’s freshman year, during which she attempted to create the organization as a freshman but was intimidated by the paperwork.

Snyder said this time around with the help of her adviser from her current internship, completing the paperwork was easier and creating the group was more of a feasible goal.

Snyder shed tears during the signing of the final paperwork, she said.

“They were tears of joy. To be able to tie a school that I love so much with what I’m passionate about is amazing,” Snyder said. “This really means so much to me.”

The organization got the green light to begin operating during the week before school began, after Snyder found a faculty adviser for the group in Dr. Randy Bryner, associate professor for exercise physiology within the Department of Human Performance and Applied Exercise Science.

Because Wishmakers on Campus is a service organization, participating students can receive volunteer hours, if approved, through the Make-A-Wish Foundation that can be applied to their major or other purposes. The yearly dues for members will be $20.

Snyder is looking forward to WVU students’ involvement with Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“I think what I’m most excited for is that it’s actually going to happen,” Snyder said. “I’m really excited to fundraise and to get the wish kids involved with the University. I want people to interact with them and finally make a tie between WVU and Make-A-Wish.”

Snyder hopes to incorporate the following fundraising activities throughout the year: a 5K run/walk, bake sale, t-shirt sale, talent show, bachelor/bachelorette auction, silent auction of “survival kits” through midterm and finals weeks, dollar-drives at athletic events and more.

The organization will act as the WVU branch of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northern West Virginia, which was created in 1989 and has granted over 950 wishes since its inception. The chapter covers the northern 32 counties in West Virginia and focuses on the joy of the wish experience, which can ease the pain and uncertainty of the child’s medical condition.

To learn more about the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northern West Virginia, visit