Center helps support military dogs

By Rhea Riley

The Experiential Learning Center has teamed up with Save-A-Vet to save military and law enforcement dogs from being put down after retirement.

The Experiential Learning Center, a part of the College of Business, creates teams of students that partner up with organizations for a semester-long project. The Experiential Learning Center has taken up 138 projects and is working on projects with Knaack LLC, Caterpillar, NIU University Relations and McDonald’s.

Save-A-Vet was founded by Danny Scheurer, a veteran of the Iraq War, who decided to take action after a military contractor left corporate-owned dogs behind to avoid the extra cost of transportation, according to the Save-A-Pet website.

The organization now provides free housing to military and law enforcement veterans if they agree to take care of retired dogs. This prevents military and law enforcement dogs from being euthanized when they are no longer in commission.

Senior marketing major Theresa Van Den Eeden is working with 11 other students on this project and is accompanied by two assistant coaches and two faculty coaches. She is the editor of the project’s magazine, which will include the mission of Save-A-Vet along with advertisements to fundraise for the organization, according to the Experiential Learning Center website.

“It’s a really unique experience for students,” Van Den Eeden said. “Not only do you get a bunch of skills like in presentations and learning how to be on a real business team; you’re also networking with business executives. We are working with the founder of Save-A-Vet.”

Marketing Department chair Geoffrey Gordon and other students helped fund the project, while faculty coaches donated their time to help students on the project.

“The students are required to do a formal mid-semester de-briefing to tell the client where they’re at and what we’ve done so far,” said James Johnson, professor of finance and faculty coach for the project. “Then they owe them a final briefing at the end of the semester.”

Save-A-Vet had tried to partner with three other universities to get the organization off its feet. NIU was the only school to say yes.

“It is a challenge to get this done in a semester,” said Joan Petros, director of the Experiential Learning Center and a faculty coach for the project.