Maurice Thomas has learned a lot about people, including some of their more basic desires, as a graduate of the University of Akron's Emergency Management Training program.
''Candy moves,'' Thomas, 35, a North High School graduate and president of UA's student chapter of the International Association of Emergency Managers, said Tuesday. ''Any time you want to get everybody's attention, do it with candy.''
At noon Tuesday, Thomas, who now is working toward his graduate degree in public administration, and undergraduate student Greg Johnson took over duties for the two-hour shift to secure donations in a three-day drive to raise cash for a Haiti relief fund.
''Chocolate kills,'' Thomas said. ''While the response was very good on our first day Monday, it has been great today.''
Thomas and Greg Johnson brought a couple of boxes of Milky Ways, Snickers and other candy bars to a table that the IAEM chapter set up outside the food court at the university-owned Polsky Building. Thomas
said the 10 members of the local chapter kicked in $64 to purchase the good stuff to hand out to people who donated to help the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti.
''We know that students really do care,'' said Johnson, a senior who grew up in Ann Arbor, Mich. ''Most students are poor, but they will give what they have to give.''
Thomas said the donations will be tallied at the end of the drive today.
''We just keep all the money in the big jar,'' he said. ''I can tell you that [Tuesday] we've sold a couple of $20 candy bars. You can't beat that.''
The classes for UA's Emergency Managers Training, the only such program in Ohio to offer a bachelor's degree, are held in the Polsky Building. They are a part of the university's Summit College.
''It's really a great place to do this because a lot of people from downtown come eat lunch here,'' Johnson said. ''We'll get lawyers, policemen, firefighters as well as business people coming in here to eat.
''And they do have money more than students.''
In its own way, the relief drive is part of emergency management training, said Dr. Robert Schwartz, an associate professor who is in his third year of teaching at UA.
''Working with people in the public sector is a big part of the actual experience. Getting donations gives the students a real, practical application of what we've been training to do in the classroom,'' he said.
Schwartz said the IAEM chapter chose AmeriCares to receive the funds raised.
''We are going to send cash because it's much more effective than buying goods, like a case of water, and then trying to send that to another country,'' he said.
''Our students looked at a lot of different agencies and picked AmeriCares because it has one of the largest percentages of donations that actually get to the charity. There is very low overhead at AmeriCares.''
The IAEM students will conclude their three-day drive from noon to 2 p.m. today.
Bill Lilley can be reached at 330-996-3811 or firstname.lastname@example.org.