SHERIDAN — Sheridan College students organized a Presents for Pets fundraiser in the Mars Agricultural Center Saturday, raising nearly $500 for the Sheridan Dog and Cat Shelter. The event was the culminating project of their business ethics class and offered the chance to partner with businesses in the community for a hands-on lesson in social responsibility.

At the start of the semester, students submitted essays about their preferred organizations to support with the course project, and the students selected the shelter.

“The fact that they jumped in to this extent and got so many donations, silent auction and 50/50 raffle, it really impressed me,” shelter director Jill Moriarty said. “That $465 will go a long way.”

Moriarty said the number of animals being served by the shelter is currently very high and the nonprofit will use some of the money for enrichment toys and for food for special diets.

The shelter has recently launched its senior dogs program, which pairs senior dogs with senior citizens for companionship and strays to service program, which trains dogs to work as service animals for veterans and others.

Sheridan College business ethics instructor Jill McGraw said the course talked mostly about corporate social responsibility and acting ethically in an organization.

“Consumers nowadays put value on where they choose to put their business, often based off of community support and community philanthropic initiatives,” McGraw said.

Carlos Diaz said he was surprised to discover how much businesses in the community care about their corporate social responsibility.

“You read it in the textbook, but I was surprised when I actually went out to businesses how much they care about this, and how much they’re willing to try and have [corporate social responsibility] by giving us some of the donations,” Diaz said.

This is the second semester the business ethics class has organized a fundraiser for an organization in town as a final project.

Last year, students aided the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Wyoming Wilderness Association in a trail cleanup at the Tongue River trailhead and built picnic tables with wood donated from businesses.

The students were divided into marketing and logistics teams with a two-person leadership team. Those in marketing approached local businesses for donations of items for a silent auction at the event.

Matai Trampe was on the marketing team for the project, working on posters and Facebook posts to spread the word and also played music at the fundraiser. Trampe said he was happy with the turnout at the event and the money raised.

She said she was unaware of the shelter’s strays to service program before beginning to work with the organization.

Diaz, who was on the marketing team, said the greatest skill he developed from the project was how to communicate with businesses.

“The hardest part is actually talking to businesses not just as a customer but as a business partner, or at least as an event partner. So that was probably the biggest gain I got from it, how to speak to a business and have them be willing to contribute to your cause,” Diaz said.

Faith Tarter helped spread the word through local media and said applying everything she learned in the course of the project made the material come to life.

“I’ve helped with putting on an event before, but starting from the ground up, coming up with the idea and all of that really helped me, and now I’ll be able to do that in the future,” Tarter said.