Elevate Portland Initiative
UofL students log countless volunteer hours working at non-profits. They do it as part of their education, but the benefits are teaching them lessons for a lifetime.
The college is focusing volunteer efforts on the struggling Portland Elementary School in Louisville’s West side. The initiative has involved dozens of students, faculty, and staff from the college and brought new hope to hundreds of Portland students, many of whom live in low-income, single-parent homes. The initiative is designed to provide the students with basic needs that support a higher-quality learning environment and to nurture aspirational goals that will encourage a path out of poverty.
Tablet PCs, warm clothing, snacks and most of all, encouragement … these are the things that faculty, staff and students from the College of Business are bringing to one of Louisville’s most disadvantaged elementary schools. Launched in 2015, the Elevate Portland Elementary Initiative has quickly become a popular outreach project.
The college first provided new sweatshirts – that included each student’s high school graduation date on the back – to Portland’s 300 children. The shirts were ordered through the COB student-run CardShirt business. T-shirts were also provided for the children for a “Professional Signing Day” The college has provided many basic needs for the children like hats, mittens, and socks, and boxes of snacks. An anonymous donation allowed tablet PCs to be supplied for every fifth grader.
Portland Principal Angela Hosch gets emotional when she talks about the UofL effort. “They kept coming back,” she said. “I’m humbled that we’ve been embraced that way.”
Central High School Business 101 Dual Credit Program Provides Opportunities for High School Students to Earn College Credit
College of Business (CoB) professors voluntarily teach introductory courses to high school students to help expose them to the world of business. In one program, CoB partners with Louisville Central High School to offer a dual credit course in business management. Classes are taught by ten volunteer UofL professors. COB management professor Nat Irvin II and CHS teacher Joseph P. Gutmann, a UofL graduate and adjunct professor, and head of the Law & Government Magnet Academy at CHS created the course Introduction to Business Management. Students take classes in economics, organizational behavior, and leadership, business law, communications, finance, accounting, computer information systems, project management, decision making, and management. The course counts as three hours of college credit.
Summer Accounting Camp for High Schoolers
Accounting Careers Awareness Program (ACAP) introduces high school students to accounting and related business fields through a free, four-day campus residency program that explores the industry through workshops, group activities, and site visits to area businesses. Participants meet local business professionals who share their personal experiences and offer tips for success. No matter what career participants pursue, success in the workplace requires managing money and resources intelligently, applying critical thinking skills, communicating effectively, and maintaining high standards of professional ethics–skills ACAP addresses.
ACAP Flyer (.pdf) Location – UofL Belknap campus – Frazier Hall
Every fall from 2000-2017, thousands of people visited Louisville to attend IdeaFestival. Like TED conferences, IdeaFestival presented speakers who gave compelling talks about their research and discoveries with an eye toward the future.
In 2010, IdeaFestival added a program geared toward high school students called “Thrivals.” The brainchild of Nat Irvin II, “Thrivals” came from groundbreaking research he published in 2004. Irvin coined the term “thrivals” to describe a new demographic of forward-thinking African American youth with a global viewpoint.
In 2016, the theme was “Future of Human Imagination,” and one speaker was Margot Lee Shetterly, author of “Hidden Figures,” which tells the story of black female NASA mathematicians. Five hundred copies of the book were distributed to students attending Thrivals. Another speaker was Yari Rodriguez, an MIT researcher who is a finalist for a spot with a group that will settle on Mars beginning in 2025.
Students from several regional high schools attend Thrivals each year for free, but they have to earn their spot.
“Thrivals is a way for young people to be able to have these kinds of experiences now not later, not when they’re 25. They need to be informed, to be exposed to some of the best thinkers in the world. That’s what an institution like ours, the COB, UofL is about,” Irvin said.
Project BUILD (Business United in Leadership Development)
Project Build Class of 2017
Another program, Project BUILD, was started 30 years ago by Jay T. Brandi, a finance professor and chair of the finance department. This four-week summer program held at the college is for high school juniors and seniors. It introduces them to the world of business and business-related careers through classes in accounting, economics, finance, management, and marketing. Partners in the BUILD program include UofL, Lincoln Foundation, PNC Bank, Humana, UPS, WellCare, Old National Bank, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Center for Nonprofit Innovation
The College of Business houses the Center for Nonprofit Innovation, which opened in 2007. Center Executive Director Robert Barker said all students in the Computer Information Systems program have done volunteer work with local nonprofits through the center.
“Every student graduates having worked with an actual client to design, develop and implement an actual system so they have work experience,” Barker said. The nonprofits get the professional help they would otherwise not be able to afford. The client list includes organizations like the Family Scholar House, The Healing Place, Coalition for the Homeless, Louisville Youth Choir, Animal Care Society, Catholic Charities, Louisville Orchestra and the Louisville Visual Arts Association.
“The activities of the center have been a ‘win/win’ for both the students in the CIS major and the clients we serve,” Barker said.
Back to Nature – Jefferson Memorial Forest Conservation Projects
Steve Kendra, Executive-in-Residence in Computer Information Systems, regularly takes College of Business students to Jefferson Memorial Forest for community outreach projects. Kendra, a volunteer naturalist at the forest, invites students to help with trail maintenance, land stewardship, campground cleanup, facilities and landscape enhancement, and educational opportunities for elementary, middle and high school students. The COB students help on Saturday mornings, and more than 100 students have participated in this outreach, which Kendra started five years ago.
The Heart of Community Engagement is in Class
In his Community Engagement and Consulting class, management professor Frank Kuzmits has his students doing volunteer work every week, then posting their experiences on a Facebook page. He then offers encouraging comments on what they’ve experienced. Each semester you can find the students at places like The Salvation Army, Kentucky Humane Society, Uspiritus, Legal Aid Society, Jewish Family and Career Services and Dream Factory of Louisville.
Helping Small Businesses
Dr. David Faulds’ social media class takes learning from the classroom to help small businesses and non-profits develop social media marketing strategies, web design, and e-newsletters. Students in Jenna Haugen’s Business Communications class do a final project that involves bringing a new business to the area. They consider all the relevant areas of business then pitch their ideas to community leaders.