Halie Hagerty, a senior chemistry education major with minors in photography and physics education at Southern Utah University, has been volunteering for the last two years with the SUU Honors You program. The program invites kids from low income families to SUU’s campus to learn about the importance of higher education and ways to pay for it.
Honors You operates purely on donations typically earned from a fundraising class offered every spring. However, this past year no one signed up for the class. To help continue funding for the program, Hagerty decided to raise money on her own through her talents in photography. Hagerty charges $25 for each family portrait session, donating 100 percent of the proceeds back to Honors You. She is more than halfway to her goals of raising $2,000.
“I see the kids that come to Honors You and they just light up,” said Hagerty. “It's important to give them opportunities to learn about college. I want people to donate constantly to maintain this valuable program.”
Hagerty has faced some challenges with her project. She had to research fundraising and marketing techniques as well as some technical aspects of photography. The hardest part was advertising the service and getting people to show up.
“A lot of the people I photograph don't ever have portraits done, or haven't had portraits done in a long time, but they always have a great time at the session and love the end result. ” said Hagerty.
Jayci Bash, director of the Honors Program, and Sam Davis, assistant professor of photography, helped guide Hagerty on this project.
“Halie has always been a self motivated student that sees the broader implications of her projects and works very hard to create quality work,” said Davis.
“She is hardworking, creative, generous, and committed to making a difference in the world,” said Bash. “It's difficult to identify a student who has had a bigger impact on the success of this program.”
After graduation, Hagerty would like to become a professional photographer and have her own business in the future. Taking portraits of families is her passion, she especially loves capturing the candid moments that not everyone expects.