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Keep the Beat Going Online Shop

The Three Marketeers

How a Bentley team made the grade — while giving back

Kristin Livingston

Keep the Beat Going merchandise
        Students sold a variety of items, including hats and    
        sweatshirts (their top seller), in their online store. 

Communities around the world have proven their solidarity throughout the pandemic, and Bentley is no exception. To date, more than $250,000 has been raised for the Emergency Assistance Fund, now known as the Student Hardship Fund, aiding hundreds of students in distress and displacement.

Much of that support has come from alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends of the university. However, Bentley students have also played a part — including three classmates who decided to pivot a marketing project into a fundraising effort for their peers.

In Experimental Marketing, students learn how to create an online store, from identifying the market and developing the products and website to fulfilling the orders. Michael Harris ’20, Thomas Komar ’20 and Amanda Shoemaker ’21, initially teamed up to support New England Donor Services, as organ donation was a common interest for the trio, but didn't hear back. “So we thought, Bentley is asking for help for our friends and classmates. Let’s partner with them.”

Despite only having a few classes together before switching to a remote learning environment, the group worked quickly and smoothly to create a website, Keep the Beat Going, on Shopify. Komar designed the logo, the team surveyed fellow Bentley students to determine which products would sell, and each member focused on developing a few products they were passionate about creating.

The bestseller? A sweatshirt.

It’s nice to be able to contribute in whatever way that I can, even if it’s only through like a small fundraiser like this. It’s nice to know I can give back to something that I was part of for four years and will keep being a part of my life.
Michael Harris ’20

“Originally, we had been planning on focusing on crop tops,” Shoemaker explains. But with stay-at-home orders in place, comfort was key — and their target audience switched from students to faculty, after their professor, Ian Cross, sent an email to his colleagues. The group raised a few thousand dollars in just a few weeks and was able to donate more than $1,000 to the Student Hardship Fund.

“I was really surprised seeing the amount that we were able to raise so quickly,” Harris says, “and just seeing that number consistently go up for the days that it was open.”

The shop and the spring semester have come to a close, but the three marketeers are on to new ventures: Komar is working in marketing for Formlabs, Shoemaker is a marketing intern for Turco Legal, PC, with plans to go to law school and Harris is set to start with TJX in August.

“I’m happy to give back because Bentley helped my family out a lot,” Shoemaker says, remembering her freshman year when her father lost his job. “We needed a lot of financial assistance. So now that we’re in such a better place to be able to give back and help other families who might be in a bad place, it means a lot.” Komar adds, “Bentley’s always been there when I’ve been in need — like when my mom lost her job during my first year. So being able to help now is very meaningful.”

Harris shares a similar sentiment. “It’s nice to be able to contribute in whatever way that I can, even if it’s only through like a small fundraiser like this. It’s nice to know I can give back to something that I was part of for four years and will keep being a part of my life.”