BUSN200 has different reputations from students, advisors, facilitators, and other staff that sometime seem to cloud the true meaning and purpose of the course. I’m lucky enough to have two perspectives of the program, not only am I a facilitator, but I am also a business student who has yet to take the class.
Before I was hired as a facilitator I had heard of BUSN200, but my view was definitely negative. I got my information straight from fellow business students, and all I knew was that I had to complete 40 service hours in one semester and I wouldn’t even receive a grade (to me this was a negative thing because I believed it could have been an easy “A” to boost my GPA). Several questions ran through my head: “Why is this a requirement for only business students? How will this make me a better business professional? Isn’t ethics class enough? How will I have time? I don’t have a car… how will I get to the site?” It wasn’t because I didn’t want to volunteer, I have always enjoyed, and even been passionate about helping my community in any way. It was just that I wasn’t sure it would be possible, and the fact that I was being forced to do the service made me feel even more uncomfortable.
I know that many, if not all other business students have had many of these same thoughts. I know this not only because I understand the perspective as a fellow student, but because they have expressed these opinions during class, sent in through emails, over the phone, etc. I believe that having students facilitate the course allows for easier conversation on the topic of “why do we have to do this?”, and through conversation students can become more comfortable with this requirement.
To start the conversation, I would like to share the unique perspective I have gained as a facilitator.
I often have to explain over and over that the point of BUSN200 is not to “become a better person”, as people will try to use this exact statement as a learning objective. The statement isn’t a bad one, of course we hope that everyone will aim for constant self-improvement, the statement is just too vague. If I had to pick one simple statement to sum up the “point” of BUSN200 it would be: “to become a better business professional”. This statement can be used for any business course, and again it is vague, but it is more specific than to be a better person. It addresses the reason this requirement is addressed solely to business students, and with a better look at the course material, students begin to see that the knowledge they gain from course discussion is indeed useful as a business man or woman.
At BUSN200 we do our best to help business students become better professionals. We do this by facilitating conversations about non-profits and for-profits and their roles in the community, and by encouraging students to create their own objectives that will help them succeed after graduation.
I often describe the course as a “learn it yourself” course, because even though there are some pieces that are taught while in class, the majority of what a student will learn is taught to them through experience. I believe this is the biggest reason students are “forced” to come up with a site where they will complete forty service hours. It really is meant to be an opportunity; students can choose a site that will encourage their professional skills and success through experience while gaining an understanding of the importance of keeping a healthy community.
These are of course only my own personal observations as a student and facilitator, I’m sure Barbara and my fellow facilitators would have much to add, but like I said, I just wanted to start the conversation.