School of Communication Studies Junior Applies Classroom Skills to Fundraising Efforts

School of Communication Studies junior applied communication major, Austin Hartsel, is using skills learned in the classroom to assist with fundraising efforts for his friend, David Bakos. Bakos was diagnosed with stage four adenocarcinoma in December 2014.

“David is the nicest person you’ll ever meet; the last person on his mind is always himself,” Hartsel said. “But, he has the worst luck.”

After his diagnosis, Bakos started going to the Cleveland Clinic to visit sick children. After a few visits, he decided he wanted to start a foundation – with the ultimate goal of developing a sanitized building where patients could spend time together watching movies, bowling, playing pool and developing friendships – all without the stress of germs. To achieve this dream, Bakos and his mother decided to start a Go Fund Me account and asked Hartsel for assistance.

Hartsel said as he thinks of Bakos as a brother – not just a best friend – it was his responsibility to help.  To assist with developing the Go Fund Me account, Hartsel wrote the copy describing Bakos’ diagnosis and his dream. He also became active in distributing flyers and information.

He credits several of his communication classes as helping him with the creation and promotion of the account.

“My High Impact and Professional Speaking class taught me that people respond differently to different subjects – especially when you talk about sensitive ones,” he said. “My nonverbal course has helped – I’ve learned you can see it on people’s faces if they’re just listening to you or if they’re actually going to take action.”

Hartsel also says his love to talk and write made promoting the cause easier – along with the knowledge that Bakos would do anything to help if the roles were reversed.

When the foundation comes to fruition, Hartsel will serve as the social media manager and spokesman – two roles that will put his applied communication degree to good use.

To learn more about the Go Fund Me account Hartsel created, visit


POSTED: Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - 9:58am
UPDATED: Monday, October 19, 2015 - 11:24am