Achieving Career and Educational Success: It’s a mandatory course for first-year students at Davenport University and a key focus at the university.

Derek Boillat is one faculty member who teaches this course — commonly referred to as ACES. In his course this semester, he assigned a service project.

“My goal for this project was to make the textbook come alive and to give students hands-on experience working with actual budgets, solving problems, collaborating on real issues and working with the community,” Boillat said.

hockeyHis class planned the Black and Blue Hockey Game, a fundraiser with the DU hockey team and Helen Devos Children’s Hospital. The event — in which the DU Panthers play the Western Michigan Broncos — will begin at 3:35 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at Patterson Ice Arena in Grand Rapids. The event features a 50-50 raffle, silent auction and a ceremonial puck drop to help raise money to support the children’s hospital.

DU student Jake Pobur said the cause is one he holds close to his heart after having a friend and teammate who lost his own battle with cancer.

“The experience itself has been satisfying,” Pobur said. “Everyone in our class has really brought their best effort to the table in every aspect.”

DU student Amber Park’s group focused on sponsorships.

“What surprised me was the amount of work and detail that had to be taken care of every step of the way,” Park said. “It was a reality check and a good teaching experience for myself.”

Boillat said the experience has strengthened his students’ skills and helped them step out of their comfort zone.

“Ideally, this project teaches them that they have the potential to impact the lives of people who need help,” Boillat said. “It is easy to lose focus of that while balancing school, jobs and life.”

Boillat said he thanks Jodi Hicks, Wayne Sneath, Jason Madden, Ronda Varnesdeel, Alec Riemersma, Devin Pierson, Paul Lowden and Phil Sweeney for helping make the project come to life.