The University of St. Thomas

BUSN200 J-Term

It’s not too early to think about completing BUSN200 over J-term! St. Thomas students have the unique opportunity to visit Haiti for a week of service, empowerment and friendship. Accounting professor Kristine Sharockman will serve as the faculty advisor on this mission trip with Healing Haiti, a local organization that has been leading trips to Titanyen, Port-au-Prince, and Cite Soleil since 2006. The trip will take place the week of January 12-19, 2015 (and you can use this trip to complete your BUSN200 requirement!) To learn more, visit the website: www.healinghaiti.org or contact Kristine Sharockman at kmsharockman@stthomas.edu

Published on: Monday, October 27th, 2014

Reflections of a New Facilitator

This is my first year as a BUSN200 Facilitator, and I find myself reminiscing about the summer I completed my BUSN200. I remember what it was like to be in the shoes of the students I’ve been teaching. I have been involved in various service opportunities since high school, but when I completed own my service learning course in 2013, I had no idea what to expect. I was living at UST for the summer, and had to make new connections with organizations I was not familiar with. I had to learn a new bus schedule. I had to learn my way around the skyway system in Minneapolis to get to my service site! Even the work the service site was having me do was challenging; I chose to do an unpaid internship at a non-profit to complete my BUSN200, and things like calling strangers on the phone seemed so daunting because I was so shy. I had seen in my own life how service had already helped me grow as a person, but I was still very nervous because of all the changes.
BUSN200 ended up being one of the best experiences of my college career. I grew so much as a person, as well as a professional. I realized all of the changes I had been so nervous about were just plain silly. I could directly see how my service was helping others. And I was able to come out of my shell and learn to be a little less shy and a little more confident. My internship was one of my first professional jobs, and I left feeling like I could take on any challenge and do just about anything. I was once again reminded of the impact that service can have, not just on the community but on the individual. That’s why UST has its business students complete the BUSN200 program. It makes students grow into well-rounded leaders.
Now that I am facilitating BUSN200 and working with students to ensure they complete their service, I can see myself in some of the students. Some of the students are nervous to take on this new commitment. To those students: don’t be nervous. Embrace this change and challenge. Think of all the people you will help. And think of all the new skills you will gain. We talk in our second BUSN200 class about stakeholders. UST students are some of the most important stakeholders, and in class I have already been amazed by some of the humbling stories my students have shared about their service. I can tell that other students are having similar life-changing experiences that I had when I completed my own BUSN200, and as a facilitator there is no better feeling. I truly believe in this program, and I can’t wait to see where this year as a facilitator takes me.
Lauren Buchholz~ Facilitator

Published on: Friday, October 17th, 2014

BUSN-200

qWhy are you doing this service? Is someone making you do this or are you doing this to check the box on the degree requirement? Or do you really just enjoy helping people out? All of these things are very valid reasons to be completing this class. Yes, you do need this to graduate with a business degree, so you are checking a box and the University is making you do this. The question is why? Why would St. Thomas put such an emphasis on having every one of their business students complete a service course to graduate from the Business school? Why is this the only department on Campus that makes their students do this?

The University of St. Thomas has seen the many positives of having students complete this class. It gives the students a much more of a well-rounded view of how fortunate they are to be going to this fine institution. Also this gives students an opportunity to do something they might never have had the opportunity to do. Another thing that is great about service is that it is giving back to the community. In the Bible Luke 12:48 “To much has been given much is expected”. This verse really hits home to what we are doing. We have been given the great opportunity to go to this great institution what are we going to do with it?

 

Kasey Liebeg~Facilitator

Published on: Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Volunteering

“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”

Sure, you’ve got a full schedule. You’re taking 16 credits, working 3 jobs, and then you have family and friends to spend time with on top of that. You have no time to even think, let alone volunteer.

Take a second to think about your schedule. Sure, you dedicate a few hours each Thursday night to watch your favorite tv shows. Hey, you can’t miss those – you don’t have DVR. Now, Picture that one kid in middle school, the one that takes his math homework out each night and just stares at it. He has no idea what he is doing, but he always sits down on Thursdays and tries and tries to get through the problems so that he can pass his class.

Think about it. Could you really NOT handle watching your favorite show the next day online? Is Grey’s Anatomy really that crucial to your happiness? Is there any way that you could use your Calc II level math skills and volunteer your time to tutor that kid that struggles through his homework each Thursday night? Then, maybe the two of you could watch Grey’s together after you get through explaining those 20 problems that he just doesn’t seem to understand?

Look at his face – the smile as he finally “gets it.” The excitement as he moves on to the next problem…. And gets it right!

After sitting on the couch, eating that bag of chips and watching your shows, would you feel the same sense of satisfaction that you get after helping someone understand the one thing that had seemed overwhelming to them just the day before?

Think about it. Is sacrificing that one tv show worth it to make an impact on this young teenagers life? Or would you rather sit back and chill while he struggles day and night through his work?

This is just one way that you can volunteer. Not to take away from your time but to give the time that you can to do something beneficial and uplifting for someone else. You can always watch the show at a later time, but you can make a positive impact on that kid’s life now! In your own way, on your own time, you can be the change that somebody has been praying for. You can be the person that finally helps someone understand a math problem, keeps someone company when they’re lonely, or feeds someone that does not have the resources. You can make a statement. So, get up off of that couch, and go make a difference out there!

Hayley Johnson ~ Facilitator

Published on: Friday, October 3rd, 2014

To pay it forward.

 

I participated in my first Pay It Forward tour in March 2011. Throughout undergrad at University of Saint Thomas, I have always put an enormous amount of effort into my commitments and would characterize myself as fairly tightly wound. I signed up for the tour because I wanted to spend some time thinking about others, and not the stresses of my own life.

Road tripping in a bus with other 40 college students for a week who want to make a positive impact on new communities gave me a sense of utter peace. I can honestly say that I emerged from the trip as a different person. It had a way of changing my entire outlook on relationships with other people, both friends and strangers.

The 40 college students that at the beginning of the week were completely strangers to each other transformed into a family. Something that really struck me was the way our tour leaders got us to really be truthful to everyone and most importantly to ourselves. This level of closeness enabled us to share the experience at a much deeper level than we otherwise would have. I honestly believe that my spring break trip with STLF was one of the most valuable experiences I’ve had in college. I’d recommend it to anyone; especially those who want to take a step back from their day-to-day obligations and experience a broader and more meaningful connection to their community.

Evelyn Jacome~ Facilitator

Published on: Friday, October 3rd, 2014

CREATE Community Meal

“They began arriving hours in advance. Over 400 volunteers–farmers, cooks, drivers, mobile art kitchens, dance choreographers, spoken word poets, food servers, food runners, zero waste managers, and table hosts. And when the bell rang, nearly 2,000 guests followed the signs in Somali, Spanish, Hmong, and English and took their seats on Sunday, September 14–at a half-mile long dinner table along Victoria Street in St. Paul, Minnesota–to take part in the performance.

Welcome to CREATE: The Community Meal, the ambitious and jubilant public art event by nationally acclaimed artist Seitu Jones that has placed the urbanFrogtown neighborhood and Public Art St. Paul in the forefront of the nation’s growing conversation over food justice, and access to healthy food and farms.” –Jeff Biggers, Huffington Post.

Jeff Biggers was the reporter for the Huffington Post sent from Iowa to write about the CREATE community meal here in St. Paul. I was one of the table host volunteers at the event. Jeff sat at an empty seat at my table, there to interview and learn about the event.

He asked where all the people came from, some from Minneapolis, some from St. Paul, many from Frogtown, where the meal took place on Victoria Street. It was a community meal, so most everyone was from nearby, except for the reporter. I think he came to the event expecting to be an outsider, and removed himself from the meal and casual conversation. But everyone was there to meet and discover not just how this community meal would function, but the diversity of the people attending. The people at my table gladly answered his questions, but required him to also answer theirs. Everyone there was interested in getting to know one another. No matter who you were or where you came from, you had to tell your story. Jeff quickly discovered that the best way for him to understand this community meal was to take part in it and experience it first-hand.

The idea of this project was to promote talk and understanding about food justice and access to healthy food and farms. This topic was discussed, and if you’d like to learn more about it you can see it in Jeff Biggers’ post, but I most enjoyed hearing where all of these people came from. I really enjoy meeting new and interesting people—and these people were interesting. There were spoken word artists, radio hosts, and all sorts of community entertainers or leaders. And even better, people that are generally viewed as “normal”, but the best discovery in getting to know these people is to see that none are “normal”. Everyone there had an interesting story, a “cool” background, or just some way of living that was unique.

These are the types of events that bring a better understanding of what it means to be a part of a community, and to understand the benefits of diversity. I greatly enjoyed being a part of this 250 table long dinner, and am excited to look into more projects like this one.

 

Erin Smith~ Facilitator

Published on: Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Why the UST Mission Statement Matters

One of the important features of working with Business 200 is that the volunteer sites must comply with the UST Mission.  A question which many of us facilitators are asked is “why does it have to be this way, isn’t it just service hours and then some journals and I’m done?”  This is a question that has taken much reflection and research into the diction of what the UST Mission truly means.

The mission statement of the University of Saint Thomas reads, “Inspired by Catholic intellectual tradition, the University of St. Thomas educates students to be morally responsible leaders who think critically, act wisely and work skillfully to advance the common good.”  Now if broken up this has many different parts that are all substantial to the development both of the individual and of the school as we all move forward as students at UST.

For starters, “Inspired by Catholic intellectual tradition,” tell us that the non-profits we show support to should be in line with Catholic intellectual tradition.  This does not mean that the non-profits have to be Catholic themselves but that they should follow Catholic teachings such as being inclusive in its entirety.  It is for reasons such as this that we do not allow volunteers to clock in hours at organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America, who do not allow homosexual troop leaders as part of their organization.  By not being entirely inclusive the Boy Scouts of America does not follow Catholic intellectual tradition and is therefore ineligible.

Next, “the University of St. Thomas educates students to be morally responsible leaders who think critically, act wisely and work skillfully to advance the common good.”  This section of the mission statement applies more to the learning objectives all Business 200 students fill out for their first journal entries.  Although any service is welcome, to complete Business 200 a student should review their professional and career goals.  By finding a service site that will inspire the student to “think critically, act wisely and work skillfully” the student is building up skills that will hopefully help them in the future.

While every student is entitled to his or her own interpretation of whether they accept the UST Mission or not, it is important to correlate it to the Mission of the service sites in order to engulf the students in an inclusive environment that will give them the opportunity to grow and succeed.

 

By: Dylan Bakken-Facilitator

Published on: Monday, September 15th, 2014

Charity in Islam

As long as the needy are in need and the helpless need help, community service/charity is a civic responsibility. Community service is not only beneficial to the recipient, but also to the giver. The act of service promotes personal growth and the acquisition of skills and knowledge. Service changes people, mentally, emotionally, and often times spiritually.  
Some component of every faiths encourages the giving of charity and the involvement in service. Islam in particular, considers community service or voluntary charity (sadaqah) a virtuous deed. Charity is considered a means of cleansing oneself spirituality. The prophet Muhammad peace be upon him (p.b.u.h) said, “Charity is proof of one’s faith” (Muslim, 432). By expressing one’s love of God into good-hearted actions,  Muslims strengthen their faith and relationship with God.
Muslims are encouraged to partake in service  frequently. Sadaqah (voluntary charity) is not constricted to the giving of wealth or material possessions. In fact, Islam considers all good deeds as charity. The prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h says, “To smile in the company of your brother is charity.  To command to do good deeds and to prevent others from doing evil is charity.  To guide a person in a place where he cannot get astray is charity.  To remove troublesome things like thorns and bones from the road is charity. To pour water from your jug into the jug of your brother is charity.  To guide a person with defective vision is charity for you” (Bukhari).
Every Muslim, in whatever state they are in, is obligated to give back to those in need. The prophet p.b.u.h says,  “Charity is a necessity for every Muslim’. He was asked: ‘What if a person has nothing?’ The Prophet replied: ‘He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such earnings in charity’. The Companions asked: ‘What if he is not able to work?’ The Prophet said: ‘He should help poor and needy persons.’ The Companions further asked ‘What is he cannot do even that?’ The Prophet said ‘He should urge others to do good’. The Companions said ‘What if he lacks that also?’ The Prophet said ‘He should check himself from doing evil. That is also charity” (Bukhari).
In conclusion, by allowing various action, small and large, to constitute as charity, all Muslims, young or old, rich or poor, are capable to partake in charity and giving. By focusing on charitable actions for the sake of spiritual growth, we are able to distinguish the worth of material things and those of eternal value.
By: Anisa Abdulkadir, BUSN 200 Coordinator

Published on: Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Never underestimate your individual ability to change the world

We often grow up with the dream of changing the world, however as we go through life we fall in to the daily grind of work, school, family and a busy social life. Soon this dream fades, as our schedules fill up it slips further away until it seems unattainable.  However I am writing this post to show you this dream is not unattainable. It seems like it was just a few weeks ago that I sat down with a team of 14 ordinary Business 200 students. Tonight those same 14 students not only rekindled that hope in themselves and many others but they achieved that dream and I hope this post will encourage you to do the same.

We just wrapped up our 13th annual Listening House Silent Auction and I write to you after a 15 hour day of nonstop stress, struggles and ultimately success. I am exhausted, relieved and mainly in awe of our individual ability to change the world. Listening House is an amazing local organization. They are a homeless shelter in downtown Saint Paul across from the Excel Energy Center. In 1983 they were founded by Patty Dease (some of you may recognize her as Father Dease’s sister) on the basic principle that everyone, no matter what race, class, or stage of life they are in need a place to call their home and  need to be felt they are heard. This is the principle they have successfully continued to operate and the principle we support with this auction.

Over the last three years I have had the pleasure of helping with this event and every year I find myself a little more inspired than the last. As stated earlier just a few short months ago 14 students, Dr. Gorski, and I sat down in a room. We promised we would help these students meet their Business 200 requirement of 40 hours of service to the community if they promised to help us put on this event.  We expected them to plan, market, budget, and solicit over 30,000 dollars in donations, most of them looked at us as if we were crazy.

Many of them, much like myself, were extremely busy balancing a heavy course load, a busy social life and multiple jobs and/or internships. Most of them had no fundraising experience or a clue what Listening House was or what they did.  However after a few motivating speeches, a video or two and a short visit to Listening House they put the skills they and many others have learned at the Opus College of Business to use and they rose to the occasion.  Over the next few months they met with officials on campus, sought help from various family members, friends, professors, local businesses and generous individuals. They not only successfully planned, marketed, budgeted, and solicited enough donations to put on this event but did so in a manner that will keep guests coming back year and year again.

If you were to ask any of them at the beginning of this auction if they thought they could raise enough money to help keep hundreds of homeless individuals off the streets they more than likely would have said no. However at 11:00 p.m. tonight as we sat huddled around a sheet of paper, adding donations, ticket sales, auction revenue and subtracting our costs it hit us that is exactly what we had done. We, a group of 14 average everyday students had raised roughly 30, 000 dollars. It was hard to comprehend. This was enough money to give hundreds of underserved and disadvantaged individuals who we had never met a place to call home. Sure we may have not solved the issue of world hunger or cured cancer but we had changed the world for these individuals.

So what am I getting to through all this rambling? Although it may seem that goal is long gone and nothing but a piece of foolish childhood ambition. That dream is far from dead. If 14 average everyday students can achieve that goal you can too and from the bottom of my heart I want to encourage you to chase that dream. You will find with a defined goal, the right amount, organization, a strong team spirit and a few skills you have picked up along the way you can make a significant difference in the world.

 

By: Justin Lind, BUSN200 Coordinator

Published on: Monday, May 13th, 2013

Dare to Dream

One month. It seems surreal to think that all we have ever known in essence is gone. For the majority of our life we all have always anticipated another year of school, another year of school lunches and another year of waiting to figure it all out. Yet I have come to realize that the painful, yet beautiful truth of it all is that we will never have it all figured out.

Everyone says that this is completely terrifying, but in some strange way it is comforting, beautiful, and yet poetic. St. Thomas for many of us has been this safety net of familiarity- it was often an expectation for us to go to school, to graduate with a degree and to get a job. Yet, the thing that scares me the most is that I am going to lose all my friends. Not in the sense that we’re all moving on and leaving our bubble we have called home for 4 years, but that I am going to lose my friends in who they are. Expectations are the driving force for this problem that encourages security over passion and the notorious over the unknown. We fear what each other will think. We fear our parents. We fear society.

I think it scares to see my friends- so creative, inspiring and compassionate drift away. It makes me dwell on the moments where we used stay up late where we cared so little, yet cared so much. The days we talked about what we wanted from the world and weren’t afraid to say it aloud. The walks in the quad where you gave that unforgettable smile to a stranger- just because it was sunny.

I think that I’m hard on people because I realize how young we all really are. I fear we are losing all these inspiring, compassionate and amazing 20-some year-olds that have the potential to fret the unpaved path. To follow a dream, to open a business or work at a non-profit. I want to see our graduating class inspire the next St. Thomas graduating classes to come and to show them that it’s okay to be unconventional. To give them that soft gaze that everything is going to be alright.

The reality of it all is that it’s going to be alright. Life has this astounding way of working itself out with or without us walking by its side. All I know is that I don’t want to let my compassionate 23-year old spirit away- I don’t want ordinary. I know that I am not alone in these feelings and I can feel it in my soul. So I encourage all of us to not fret the days to come. I encourage us to let those youthful spirits continue once we graduate and continue to be passionate about whatever drives you.

Travel the world. Open that business. Find the person of your dreams. Dare to be great. Expect extraordinary- and have the courage to seek this out.

By: Katlin Nordyke, BUSN200 Coordinator

Published on: Monday, April 29th, 2013