GREENVILLE — Students in the Master of Business Administration program at Clemson University have been recognized for their service work with Triune Mercy Center in Greenville.

The TeamMBA Advisory Committee of the Graduate Management Admission Council selected Clemson’s Triune project as a finalist for the TeamMBA Service Award. The annual TeamMBA Award program recognizes schools that exemplify a commitment to social responsibility through the actions of their students and the school’s demonstrated support of those efforts.

Triune Mercy Center is a non-denominational mission church that ministers with and alongside the homeless.

“You wouldn’t think that MBA students and homeless people would have much in common, but an innovative volunteer program has brought them together in what is hoped will be only the first of many collaborations between Clemson at the Falls and the community in which it’s located,” said Gail DePriest, director of corporate relations and career management for Clemson’s MBA program. “Giving back to the community is an important piece of our students’ responsibility as future business owners.”

In 2008, DePriest took a group of MBA students to visit Triune Mercy and brainstorm about what kinds of help the mission needed most.

“They had a pile of old, donated computers stashed in an empty room on the third floor. Most of the computers were no longer in working order,” DePriest said.

Through regular visits to Triune and community donations of carpet and office supplies, the graduate students developed a computer lab for the center. The lab provides an opportunity for the homeless and disadvantaged to learn how to use computers — skills that can assist in job hunting.

“We forget that some people never learned to connect online — a big disadvantage in the world today,” DePriest said.

The students designed a curriculum that started with beginning keyboarding and moved on to e-mail accounts, Internet searches and programs, such as Microsoft Excel and Word. The first class included 18 people who received certificates of completion at the end of the informal course, DePriest said.

Each year incoming MBA students will visit Triune to continue the work.

“That’s the sustainable piece of this, “ said DePriest. “It will continue from one group of students to the next.”

The other schools recognized in the TeamMBA Service Award program are:

  • Boston University, School of Management
  • Chinese Europe International Business School
  • University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management
  • University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School
  • Wake Forest University, School of Business

Clemson University offers both full- and part-time MBA programs to accommodate a variety of students. In both programs small classes allow optimal student-teacher interaction with learning facilitated through a variety of applied and traditional methods. The range of courses offered is intended to give students a firm grasp of broad-based business fundamentals as well as the opportunity to focus on areas of interest. Students also can earn a dual degree by combining their MBA with other graduate degrees offered at Clemson. Students also may participate in a collaboration with IESEG School of Management in France, where they can earn both MBA and Master of International Business degrees.