In the first-year MBA ethics class, we often heard our professor state that her goal in life was to leave things better than she found them. This thought embodies the MBA Service Association and the projects that they participate in throughout the year. The MBA program is only two years long and many of us come from miles away, moving furniture, family and lives to Champaign-Urbana to start a new adventure as MBA students'we can only hope that we leave this community better than how we found it.
This week, the Service Association brought us closer to reaching our goal of making a difference in our community by organizing a Project Linus event. Project Linus, named after the Peanuts character Linus who was always comforted by his blanket, makes and distributes blankets to those children who have been traumatized, are ill or are in need in other ways. After gathering fabric, relaying instructions and the mission of the project, 20 MBA students made 15 blankets in just an hour. The blankets were given to the local Project Linus chapter to distribute at hospital events.
After the blankets were made, I asked Stephanie Mills, the current President of the MBA Service Association, to comment on her thoughts about the event and events like Project Linus. She said, “Events like Project Linus are important because they connect the MBA students with local volunteer opportunities that have a national reach. The blankets that we made during our own Project Linus event are part of thousands of blankets nationwide that are going to seriously ill children.”
She went on to mention, “The Illinois MBA Service Association has been blessed with many new and returning members this year that are extremely dedicated to volunteerism. While our members are very busy with classes and other extracurricular activities, I can always count on them to participate (either with donations of time or money) in the events.”
I agree with Stephanie—it’s amazing to know that the projects we participate in truly make a difference in the world. While grades, networking and careers are extremely important in the MBA program, so are volunteerism, extracurricular activities and socializing. Each student has multiple opportunities to develop her/his story while s/he is in the program; the Service Association is just one chapter of many.
In addition to Project Linus, the Service Association has also donated food to a university-wide food drive as well as helped the Eastern Illinois Food Bank pack donated items. More on each of these events next week in my special Thanksgiving blog! Until then, feel free to leave a comment describing some of the ways you make a difference in your community.