Monthly Archives

January 2012

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Change of Heart

As a Business 200 Student Advisor one of the critiques of Business 200 we often face is students feel that by requiring them to serve we are undermining the principles of service. The term “forced service” or “forced volunteering” is often offered up as an alternative by the student. Students often feel that by requiring them to serve it takes away from the purpose and genuine act of service. They often feel as they already pay close to $30,000 dollars a year for tuition, they should not be required to give their time away for free. In some cases they fail to see any practical potential application of their business skills or links between for profits and non profits.

In most professions, situations of conflicting views with a customer (or a student in our case) are often dreaded and the low points of an employee’s day. When I first started out working in Business 200 it was. I did not want to deal with students who disagreed with our policy. It wasn’t fun, it was stressful and truthfully I often found myself deep down questioning if we could inspire a student to genuinely participate, enjoy and learn from service if they feel we forced them to serve. However, miraculously after my first semester with Business 200 things changed and these dreaded low points became the highlights of my day.

Why have my views changed so drastically you may ask? Well it is not because I have a new found passion for arguing or that I have become acclimated to the conflict. I could say it was because of the effects of service learning and use this as an opportunity to site a multitude of statistics and academic studies I have read discussing the benefit of service learning in an undergraduate program. Truthfully however by doing so all I would be doing is constructing a good academic argument in support of Business 200. When it comes down to it, this drastic change is due to those same students who at the beginning of their service were questioning the purpose and validity of Business 200.

Now I should clarify it is not every single one of those students, but it is the astounding number of them who have shown up to their final meetings and seminars with drastically different viewpoints from when they began. They have discovered the purpose of service learning and in doing so they have shown me that even the most reluctant of students can take something out of Business 200. Not only have they allowed Business 200 to inspire them, they have inspired me to inspire others. When faced with these situations of conflicting viewpoints I now remind myself of the students who question the purpose of this course at the beginning of their service are often the ones who find the purpose of it through service.

By: Justin Lind, BUSN200 Student Coordinator

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Face Forward

When I started business 200 I wasn’t sure what to expect. The only use I saw out of completing this course was the opportunity to complete an internship. After attending the first group meeting, my feelings about business 200 completely changed. I began to learn the importance of service to our communities and how completely necessary it is to have non-profits, or even for-profit companies that are socially responsible and active in their communities.

At the first group meeting, I began thumbing through the service site pamphlet and a group called Face Forward Minnesota caught my eye. At the time, the only thing I knew about Face Forward was their mission statement. It stated, “Face Forward is a non profit event planning and multimedia organization whose primary goals are to bring high quality, multidisciplinary performing arts and multimedia to communities with limited access, and to support the development of local artists.” Now, at first, this caught my attention, but I had no idea what it really meant. I knew that they worked with performing artists, but not what kind. I knew they developed, planned, and created multidisciplinary performing arts shows, but none of the logistics behind said shows. I knew they developed multimedia, but not to what extent or even through which mediums. In short, I had a minimal understanding of what this organization was trying to accomplish; but I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

A couple of days later I mustered up the courage to give Amanda (of FaceForward) a call and see if I could arrange an interview. She answered on the second ring. I told her I was an undergraduate at the University of St. Thomas and I had found her non-profit in the service site pamphlet. To say the least, Amanda was stoked! She told me to send her an e-mail with a more informative description of what I was trying to accomplish through business 200 and how her organization could fit my needs. We set up an interview for the following Tuesday to see if Amanda thought I could be a useful asset.

Before the interview, I was nervous. I found myself pacing around my room in my best-looking business attire; practicing what I would potentially say to Amanda. In all honesty, I had put all my eggs in one basket and Face Forward was my first and only choice for completing my business 200 requirement. I was sitting in Coffee Bene when Amanda walked through the door. When we locked eyes she lit up like a Christmas tree after Thanksgiving dinner. I could see the passion in her eyes for what she was doing and she hadn’t even said a word to me yet. We met, greeted each other, and moved over to Davanni’s to do our interview. The interview went great. Amanda said she would love to have me be part of her team pending that I would complete a short take home assignment after the meeting. It was nothing extravagant; just a simple assignment where she asked me to come up with some basic marketing and business ideas for Face Forward.

An advisory meeting followed the interview. Here we brought in three outside advisors so we could present our organization to them and receive vitally important feedback from them. One of the advisors was a woman who has worked for the St. Thomas non-profit department for nearly a decade. Next, was a professor from St. Thomas who had also spent a major portion of his life working with non-profit organizations. Lastly, was a recent graduate from a local Twin Cities media designing school. He was well connected and seemed to be quite versed in the proceedings and operations of non-profits. I couldn’t have asked for a better first day working with Face Forward. I was given a chance to fill in all the gaps I found in the mission statement of Face Forward. I began reflecting on what Face Forward meant to me, and how I could spread my symptoms onto others. I found that our mission statement was about reading in between the lines and discovering the importance of Face Forward on a personal level.

And that’s when I figured it out; right there on that first day. Face Forward isn’t about sticking to some strict regiment of providing multidisciplinary arts to local twin cities communities. No. Face Forward isn’t merely an agency who promotes local artists and gives them a connection into the world of performing arts. No. Face Forward is about reaching people on a personal level. It’s about infecting people with creativity, innovation, and most of all fearlessness.

Throughout the semester we spent at least half of an hour each meeting discussing what Face Forward meant to us. These kinds of reflections were what sparked this epiphany. As I listened to the way Amanda, Will, Becky, Prakshi, and Emily spoke about Face Forward, I realized that each of us has our own view of what Face Forward provides for ourselves and our communities. To me, this is what Face Forward is truly about. We want to affect communities by creating awareness and attention, but this is only on the surface. Once we reach these communities we are trying to touch their hearts. We are trying to release the inspiration that our society can often times hinder and suppress. This “inspiration” I am referring to is directly related to our self-concept. Face Forward is about opening doors. There is no better door to open than one that brings us closer to self-actualization.

By: Matt Evertz, BUSN200 student