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There was a local celebrity trotting around St. John’s University last week – one who has a golden complexion, lots of fur, and four legs.

It was Hooper, the beloved dog of Professor Jane Paley and the face of the annual Hooper’s Toy Drive, which is organized by Paley’s public relations campaign class.

Professor Jane Paley’s class goes above and beyond to practice the art of public relations. In 2008, she started the drive to help provide Christmas toys to inner-city children, while simultaneously teaching her students how to promote and fundraise.

Students are collecting unwrapped toys and monetary donations for the school’s Bread and Life organization, which provides food and a helping hand to the poor. Each group in the class has also picked an additional charity to donate to, one of which is St. Jude’s Children Hospital.

Last year’s campaign class collected 2,500 toys. Hooper’s Toy Troopers, as this year’s class has coined themselves, is hoping to outdo that number. It is this competitive spirit combined with a collective altruistic mindset that makes the drive work so well.

“This year I’m happy to be a part of it, and I’m looking forward to helping surpass last year’s amount,” says Ryen Mills, a senior, who added that there is no greater feeling than to see a child smile just as she and so many of her classmates did during the holiday season.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/hooperstoydrive. If you would like to donate, visit www.hooperstroopers.weebly.com.

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