Illinois MBA Students at the Eastern Illinois Food Bank
Those of us in the Illinois MBA program have a lot to be thankful for--an excellent education, wonderful friends and family, many job prospects and more. In order to show how thankful we are for the things we have, Illinois MBA students like to give back to the Champaign-Urbana community and other communities as often as possible. Prior to Thanksgiving break, MBA students participated in a number of events that benefitted the community, including donating food to a university-wide food drive, helping the Eastern Illinois Food Bank pack food and raising awareness of the Lakota Nation through the student-founded Kola Foundation.
The food drive was something the MBAA Service Association organized for the MBA program as was the Eastern Illinois Food Bank event. For both events, the amount of MBAs that participated was astounding. Even though MBAs are neck-deep in schoolwork and finding jobs/internships, the students still made time to help make the Thanksgiving holiday pleasant for other community members. The Service Association had the pleasure of collecting enough food to fill two baskets, which were then given to the Illinois Student Union to add to the other baskets filled with food and Thanksgiving cheer.
In addition to collecting food for the needy, MBA students helped the Eastern Illinois Food Bank in breaking down the large food donations into smaller packets to be given out to local food banks and soup kitchens. Around 30 MBAs participated in the repack and were able to repack three pallets worth of food! The food bank was very thankful for the help and the MBA students were happy to get involved in the community.
Last but not least, the Kola Foundation, a non-profit founded by current MBA students, was featured in the November edition of Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine in an article entitled, “Life Lessons.” In the article, Stig Lanesskog, Dean of the Illinois MBA program discussed his passion for helping out the people living on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and he discussed the development of the Kola Foundation by current MBA students. Kola means “friend” in Lakota and the foundation aims to help the people of the Pine Ridge Reservation, with a particular focus on bringing hope to the youth population. Second-year MBA student, Adam Ratner is quoted in the article. He stated that starting the Kola foundation has been, “…one of the more meaningful experiences of my life. There are few things I am more passionate about.” You can read the full article here.
As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, the story you create within an MBA program is as short or as long as you want it to be. Some of us fill the chapters in our story with events that help the community, with leadership positions and with social events. While our studies always come first, our story will be much richer with experiences like the ones mentioned above. As we wrap up the semester, we have a lot to be thankful for, but most of all, we are thankful for the opportunities that the Illinois MBA programs gives us to give back.