Driven to make a difference
Danielle Hawley ’11 was devastated when she lost her best friend in an automobile accident, a tragedy worsened by the fact it was caused by a distracted teenage driver. To bring awareness to the extremely dangerous practice of texting while driving, the Lycoming College business-marketing andcorporate communication major is using lessons learned in the classroom to begin her own nonprofit organization, Teens Against Texting and Driving (TAT).
The idea began during a marketing class initiative and has grown into Hawley’s Institute for Management Studies Scholar Project at the College.
“My goal,” says Hawley, “is to ensure a safer environment for innocent drivers by making a conscious attempt to educate the population about the dangers of texting and driving.”
In March, she made her first public appearance as the founder of TAT while speaking during a Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) convention at Pennsylvania College of Technology. During her presentation, Hawley showed a documentary detailing her experiences with texting and driving. It was filmed and edited by Phoebe Wagner ’14, a digital communication major.
At the convention, Hawley established contact with U.S. Rep. Tom Marino ’85, and a meeting is in the works to discuss her commendable ambition. She hopes Marino will be able to assist her in establishing a recognized nonprofit organization.
“I never thought that a class project would lead to all of this,” says Hawley. “I’ve had so many people supporting me and helping me and that has turned this into an awesome experience.”
Hawley has created a brochure listing statistics related to the dangers of texting while driving, as well as a pledge for teens to give up texting behind the wheel. She has also spoken to several Lycoming classes and has future plans to address high schools in the Philadelphia area. In addition to raising awareness, TAT plans to donate its financial proceeds to families who have lost loved ones to texting drivers.