Learning the Vincentian Mission through a business school class at Niagara University.
During the fall 2013 semester, students enrolled in Dr. Anna McNab’s Operations and Information Management classes not only learned about the importance of information systems for the world of business, they also had an opportunity to practice helping those in need. The students participated in a service-learning project that they first designed and later executed.
Under the leadership of Dr. McNab, assistant professor of management, Dr. David Taylor, director of the Levesque Institute at NU, and Mike Skowronski, employer relations coordinator, students were asked to propose an idea that would follow a few simple criteria: It needed to be feasible in the sense of being implementable within a semester, all students in the course needed to have an opportunity to be involved, and, finally, the general goal was to help someone in need.
The students worked in teams of 3-4 and proposed their ideas to their classmates by uploading a 5-minute narrated pitch mirroring the proposals seen on popular TV shows. After these initial proposals were delivered, each member of the class voted for their favorite ideas along with Dr. McNab, Dr. Taylor and Skowronski.
The class voted to help a local couple that lost their home and beloved dogs to a devastating house fire. There were nine groups in the class and each of them worked to create a basket to donate to an auction that was held at a fundraising benefit. The students felt so touched by the story, that in addition to creating these baskets, they also donated an additional $115 as a group to the couple.
The second class chose a project that was aimed at bringing more attention to the homeless population in the area. The class collected $250 and donated the money to the Heart, Love and Soulsoup kitchen of Niagara Falls. Sister Beth Brosmer, Heart, Love and Soul executive director was very touched by this gift and said, “The students of the class have literally touched the lives of the guests of Heart, Love and Soul and have made a difference in their Christmas this year.” She was very thankful for the gift and for the continued support Niagara University shows toward this important local nonprofit organization.
Dr. McNab added, “The students have shown their true Vincentian spirit. I could not be prouder of this group of young adults who have shown the community why Niagara’s students really are special.”
Dr. McNab has been recently appointed to serve as the service-learning liaison for the College of Business Administration along with other newly appointed representatives from each of NU’s four colleges. Dr. Taylor is hoping these new roles will bring more service-learning projects into courses offered at Niagara University.