VCU Prepares for Fifth CreateAthon onCampus to Benefit Area Nonprofits

Editor’s note: onCampus is correct with no space

Students from Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia State University will spend 24 consecutive hours completing marketing and advertising projects for free for 12 area nonprofits beginning Thursday morning.

The 89 student volunteers will participate in the fifth CreateAthon onCampus, a marathon of student-generated creative work designed to help nonprofit organizations with little or no resources for advertising and marketing initiatives. The students will be supported by 34 mentors from agencies, corporations and professional organizations.

CreateAthon at VCU began in 2008 and is part of the national CreateAthon network. It has provided 46 nonprofits in the Richmond area with professional marketing materials valued at more than $700,000 since it began. Nationally, more than 75 agencies, three universities, one corporation and one club have participated in the CreateAthon network, serving more than 1,100 nonprofits with 2,500 projects valued at $15 million. 

Students will begin working at VCU at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 15, and will continue nonstop for the next 24 hours before presenting their finished projects to their clients on Friday morning.

“Each year, I am amazed at the level of passion and work students bring to this process. Their energy and ideas give me the drive to keep doing it each year,” said Peyton Rowe, associate professor of advertising in the School of Mass Communications in the College of Humanities and Sciences at VCU, who is creator of CreateAthon on Campus and director of the project. “We all work together to make our community better by serving our area nonprofits.” 

Student team leaders have been planning for this week’s event since January, researching and developing strategies. After the event, students will partner with local vendors to eliminate production costs for the nonprofits. The event itself will be documented live through the CreateAthon onCampus blog,, on Twitter @createathonVCU and Facebook,

Student teams have been recruited to work with the team leaders. Participants include undergraduate students from the VCU School of Mass Communications, VCU School of the Arts and VSU’s art and design program.

The participating nonprofit organizations, selected from a pool of applications submitted last fall, are Area Congregations Together in Service (ACTS); CARES, Inc.; Chamberlayne Actors Theater; Greater Richmond Bar Foundation; New Visions New Ventures; Rebuilding Together Richmond (RTR); Richmond Giving Circle; Sportable: Richmond Adaptive Sports and Recreation; The New Community School; The West End Community Center (WECC); Unique Perception Services; and Virginia Advanced Study Strategies.   

The organizations were selected based on their resources and how well their needs matched the students’ expertise and the 24-hour creative window.

For more information, visit

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see