Business class lesson in giving back reaps community rewards
Clemson University’s Business 1010 is a win-win – for students and the community.
In the 2015-16 school year, approximately 900 students in the business school introductory class were assigned to volunteer six hours of their time to a community event or organization. The assignment, which amounts to nearly 5,500 volunteer hours, teaches the importance of businesses giving back to the communities they serve and provides students with insights they cannot get inside a classroom.
Col. Sandy Edge, director of the business school’s Academic Advising Center, who oversees Business 1010, says teaching the importance of community service aligns with the university’s principles of improving the human condition, while at the same time providing students with a holistic view of the global community.
“Public service and community engagement are important parts of our mission as a land-grant university,” Edge said. “At Clemson, we believe service-learning and community engagement are crucial to the students’ learning experience, no matter what academic discipline they are pursuing.”
Student projects this semester ranged from assisting special needs teens, the elderly and the Boys and Girls Clubs to coaching t-ball, preparing tax returns for the underprivileged and transcribing video to text to aid the hearing impaired.
As part of the community service assignment, students document their experience in a paper, explaining the importance of community service and how it benefits the organization and its constituents.
Will Moseley, a pre-business freshman, devoted his volunteer time to an organization he is personally familiar with, Able South Carolina, which helps people with disabilities reach their highest level of independence. Will, diagnosed with dyslexia at an early age, has worked for the organization and as part of the class project, he transcribed video to text for the hearing impaired.
“A community service project like this really brings you down to earth and introduces you to people in the community you might otherwise know nothing about,” said Will. “It’s important to give back, regardless of what career you decide to pursue. My association with Able South Carolina has given me insights about part of our community that will benefit me no matter what career I pursue. And, it’s helping others in the process.”
Whether it’s volunteering for an organization one is close to, or just giving time back to the community, Moseley says, the experience introduces students to areas that may be outside of their comfort zone.
“Coming out of college, some students don’t know how to deal with the client demographic of many not-for-profits. An experience like this breaks that barrier and introduces students to a world that they should be made aware of. Not to mention, there’s a real sense of gratification that comes with extending a helping hand to someone in need.”
“The community service project is definitely a win-win for the students and community,” Edge said. “Teaching the importance of community service in a foundational business course reflects the importance our faculty puts on providing students with a holistic view of the world. It’s a role that is critical to the for-profit and non-profit businesses in the global community.”
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