Charity event to honor Zak Husein

By Zaina Salem, Editor-in-Chief

Students are taking the initiative to honor Zak Husein — the UA International Business student who was killed over a month ago in an armed robbery — by planning a charity event to commemorate his life and friendships.

The idea came about during a conversation between student Justin Cohen and Associate Professor of Marketing and International Business Douglas Hausknecht.

Although Hausknecht never had Husein as a student, he had several of Husein’s friends in his classes. Hausknecht’s colleagues who did have Husein as a student spoke to him about the depth of the loss.

“We realized that there was a need to bring the community together after the tragic event to show how much we care and to honor Zak by doing something good in his name,” Cohen said.

Hausknecht brought together student leaders in several groups such as The Muslim Student Association, Student 2 Student Global Exchange, The International Business Association, Phi Delt, and Wanderlust. Cohen agreed to lead the progress of the event planning between all involved members.

The students have decided to host a meal packaging event on campus through a charity called StopHungerNow. Attendees of the event will work together to package nutritious food such as rice, dehydrated vegetables, soy, and vitamin packs into meals, which will then be distributed to hungry kids around the world.

The goal is to raise $14,500 to fund 50,000 meals in Husein’s name. A $29 donation provides 100 meals. A GoFundMe page has been created to collect donations, which can be shared through social media sites. Funds will also be gathered from various student organizations on campus.

In addition to the meal packaging, the event will be ceremonious and give family and friends a chance to share their stories of Husein and reflect on his life.

The event is set to be held on April 19. Cohen encourages students and community members to help with fundraising by making a contribution and volunteering at the event.  

“Zak was larger than life in life. In my thirty years in Akron and on campus I have always been impressed at the eagerness shown by strangers banding together to achieve good things,” Hausknecht said. “Within a very short time after Zak died, the stories of his friendship and kindness overwhelmed social media and personal conversations. Everyone I know in every walk of life felt touched by what had happened. This is one small way to demonstrate that everyone, whether they knew him personally or not, lost something that night — something that won’t soon be forgotten.”

Those who would like to donate can visit the GoFundMe link at If interested in volunteering at the event, contact Sara Syed at [email protected].