By Bobinec, Greg on November 5, 2019.
Every year, the University of Lethbridge students within the Dhillon School of Business’s Integrated Management Experience program assist local non-profit organizations in solving problems they face.
This year the class volunteered their time with the Interfaith Food Bank.
The IME program combines academics with a community assignment as a means to help students build practical, analytical and personal skills, all while solving a real need for local non-profits. With near completion of the projects, 16 students in the program spent their Monday morning assisting the food bank with tasks around the building.
“We have a group of Integrated Management Experience students from the University of Lethbridge Dhillon School of Business here today to help with Interfaith Food Bank with some of their pre-Christmas stuff. They are getting ready here for the coming few weeks,” says Mike Madore, IME director. “What I try to do is find a local non-profit that isn’t as well known in the community to give them a little bit more exposure, so that is what our focus is and this year we are working with Interfaith Food Bank. Last year we worked with Windy City Canine Rescue and the year before we helped with Lethbridge Therapeutic Riding Association.”
Madore says exposing the students to non-profits is critical since the responsibility of educators is to develop the next generation of industry leaders, and supporting people in need and having a social conscience are critical elements of the program.
“We have a couple of things that we do with them. We have a major project that we do in the spring where we raise money and awareness for the non-profit,” says Madore. “In the fall, the students work in small teams to create and work as management consultants and they resolve an issue that this board has presented to them, so then at the end of the first semester, the board will come into the school and the students will present their resolutions to the problem that the Interfaith Food Bank had identified.”
Once the groups have completed and presented their projects to the board of representatives of the organization, the winning group is selected and then becomes the project manager and the assignments are handed out to the entire class to make the project come to life.
“It really is experiential nature of the program, what we try to do is all the courses, concepts, theory, the models that the students are exposed to. We breathe some life into them by giving the students opportunities to actually get their hands dirty and feet wet, so to speak,” says Madore. “I hope the students take away some appreciation of some of the non-profit work that volunteers are doing when they come in here because until you really get a chance to walk a mile in someone’s shoes, I really don’t think you have empathy for what is going on.”
All of the money raised through the Dhillon School of Business IME program fundraising efforts will go directly to the Interfaith Food Bank. Since the program began in 2000, students have been able to raise more than $200,000 toward community development.
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