By Emily Monroe – Shelly McVay is the professor for both the Self-Designed Project (Business 403) and Marketing Principles (Business 305) courses. Professor McVay decided to integrate nonprofit and service learning into her courses during the spring semester because it offers students the chance to practice real-life business skills with actual businesses while also assisting worthy community endeavors.
Students in the Business 403 class worked with a nonprofit called “Paws Abilities”. “Paws Abilities” employs young adults with special needs to make and sell dog treats in the KC area. During the past several months, students assisted with the development of a new product, packaging, distribution, and promotion plan for the organization.
In Professor McVay’s BUS 305 class, students worked with a non-profit called “A Turning Point”, which helps people get a new start after job loss, home loss, etc. Working in six teams, students developed branding, advertising, collateral, public service announcements, and detailed social media plans for the local non-profit. Hayden Butler was one of the students working with “A Turning Point” and she said she really enjoyed this service learning project and appreciated the real world experience.
Professor McVay believes it important to get students out in the world actually talking to clients, getting insights, presenting their ideas, and gaining priceless feedback from local business professionals. She also emphasizes the importance of students leading meaningful lives by being productive citizens and contributing to their communities. According to Professor McVay, “These two classes are just two examples of the experiential learning opportunities Jewell students are given. It is one of the things that really sets Jewell apart – that commitment to give students real-world, hands-on experiences in and out of the classroom on a regular basis throughout the semester in a variety of classes.”