Class Assignment Promotes Team Building and Benefits Charities in Service Learning Project

A management class service learning project provided a real-world application that taught team work, business planning, social responsibility and giving back to one’s community by raising money for charities. Dr. Sherry Sullivan, who teaches the MGMT 4700 - Leading for Success class, says this is not a typical team project. “It has real-life impact on people who need assistance. It is an opportunity to use business training and experience to benefit others and to showcase student talents and abilities.” 

Students wrote a team contract, created a team logo, and developed a strategic plan for raising at least $250 for their chosen charity.  Students used a variety of methods to raise funds including hosting a spaghetti dinner, selling hand-made hair ribbons, painting houses, and selling coffee, homemade candy and bake goods. Each team created a budget and kept track of revenues, costs and earnings. The various teams introduced their charity fundraising project and presented their charity with the donation on the last day of class.

The nine charities included the following:

  • RallyCap Sports
  • The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
  • Disabled American Veterans
  • Habitat for Humanity of Wood County
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • Junior Achievement
  • Wood County Humane Society
  • A Kid Again
  • Cocoon Shelter

One team  selected The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation because  they  know a 2-year-old girl who has this debilitating disease.  The team’s strategy was to sell low cost items to a large number of people to raise funds and increase awareness of this disease. Student Madison Hays describes her experience. “Throughout the semester we came to realize it went further than just simply raising money for the charity; it became about raising awareness about an incurable disease impacting thousands of lives around the world.” 

Another team’s  charity was the Cocoon Shelter, an organization in Wood County committed to ending domestic violence and empowering those affected by it.  Raven Aurand was a member of the team raising money and this project had a positive impact on her.  

“We chose the Cocoon Shelter,” according to Aurand, “because we all faced some sort of domestic violence at some point in our life, whether it be mental or physical, and we believe it is important to bring awareness to the issue as well as serve as a reason the organization is still available to others!”

Also involved in this MGMT 4700 social responsibility project was the Target Corporation. Based upon the teams’ written reports, representatives from Target selected the top three teams. During finals week, these three teams made presentations and the Target representatives awarded $3,000 for the best team strategy.  The winning team included Dale Grau, Kassandra DellaPenna, Raven Aurand, Stephanie Swint and Kendallyn Jacobs. Photo left to right includes:  Dr. Amelia Carr, Chair; Dr. Sherry Sullivan, Professor; Target representative Laura Sheridan ; and team members Dale Grau, Kassandra DellaPenna, Raven Aurand, Stephanie Swint and Kendallyn Jacobs.

Hays and Aurand describe their team project experience from the collaboration perspective.  According to Hays, “This MGMT 4700 project further strengthened what I've already learned about working in a team - it's about effectively communicating and working together towards a common goal, even when individual backgrounds and opinions may differ.”

Aurand says she learned something different from this project. “The social responsibility team project in Dr. Sullivan’s class has helped me learn how to work in a team full of leaders. This was definitely different than any other group project I have worked in because I am used to taking the leadership role, however, in this project we did not indicate one person as a leader.”

Dr. Sullivan gives credit to the entire management department for assisting in this service learning project and in writing the grant to The Target Corporation to receive the prize money.