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Valley DJs, W.P. Carey Students Host ‘Throwdown,’ Epilepsy Foundation Fundrasier

Published: Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 14:03

DJ Fundraiser

Ryan A. Ruiz

Thanks to the work of five ASU students, six Valley DJs will face-off Saturday night at American Junkie as part of a bigger battle: the fight against epilepsy.

The "DJ Throw Down at Sunset" features the well-established talent of local turntablists DJ Earth, DJ Nforce, DJ Exxxclusive, DJ Mr. Eaton, DJ Convince and KISS FM's DJ Aaron Taylor. Besides competing for fans and bragging rights, the competitors are hoping to draw a big crowd in support of the Epilepsy Foundation of Arizona. In addition to direct donations to the foundation collected at the door, American Junkie will donate 15 percent of all bar and food sales to the organization.

The event came together through the efforts of Krista Buschko, Adele Iven, Kelley Carruthers, Max Brady and Tucker Frazier, students at ASU's W.P. Carey School of Business. Their Responsible Leadership course (coded as Management 410) requires a service learning component in which students partner with a local nonprofit organization. The students get the chance to learn the intricacies of managing an organization while the nonprofit gets their services in helping to coordinate events, management and outreach.

Through an internship and other connections, Buschko, the project manager, already had links to the local nightlife, including a connection with Gem Ray, chef and VIP host with the Scottsdale Nights entertainment company, who agreed to be the team's supervisor. Based on his own experience working with local nonprofits he suggested the Epilepsy Foundation. After Carruthers researched and contacted the foundation, the partnership was born.

"They've been really great to work with and it's such an important cause," Buschko said. "Mark [Valentino, president and CEO of the foundation] was explaining how serious the consequences of epilepsy can be; how if you don't know the symptoms it can cause death."

Beyond learning about epilepsy, the group discovered plenty about the difficulties involved in putting an event together. Between coordinating a venue, DJs, sponsors and an advertising campaign, Buschko said the team came to a new understanding of the persistence and hard work required.

"When we were reaching out to people, there were plenty of people that said they were interested, like, ‘Yeah, that sounds cool,'" Buschko said. "But with this type of thing obviously you need 100-percent commitment. I had to go around and stalk some of them to make sure we had everything locked in."

The group set the extra challenge of convincing everyone involved to participate free of charge. According to Buschko, the group didn't really even consider other options to the pleasant surprise of the Epilepsy Foundation.

"Mark was talking with me about the financial details, how the organization would reimburse the DJs and American Junkie, and I was like, ‘What? I'm making everyone do this for free,'" she said, laughing. "It didn't really even occur to us to do it any other way."

There are no admission tickets and all donations are voluntary. Iven said the biggest goal of the event is to raise awareness about epilepsy and the foundation, so drawing as many people as possible is the priority. Toward that end, fraternity members Brady and Frazier are rustling up awareness of the event in the Greek community.

"We want to make this a big draw for all the fraternities and sororities," Buschko said. "It should be a wild night."

DJ Throw Down at Sunset, American Junkie, 4363 N. 75th St., Scottsdale, 480.990.3000, Saturday, March 10, 5:30 p.m., free


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