To grow as servant leaders, College of Business and Economics (COBE) students stepped out of their Management 460: Business and Society classroom last semester to invest more than 400 hours in community service.
Taught by Steve Childers, associate professor of management, the class requires each student to complete at least 10 hours of volunteer work. The 40-member class volunteered with a variety of organizations, such as Helping Hands, the YMCA, the New River Valley Red Cross and the Montgomery County Humane Society.
“To me, from a business perspective, servant leadership is about managers and owners understanding the needs of the various stakeholders of their organization and using their resources to maximize benefits of all," Childers said. "It is about understanding one's position in the bigger picture and putting the needs and concerns of others above oneself.”
Shannon Sansone, a senior management major from Richmond, volunteered with the White Ribbon Alliance (WRA), a global movement to ensure that all women and newborns around the world have access to health care.
"Even if I was doing small tasks such as stuffing envelopes or shredding documents, I was helping," Sansone said. "I will be returning to the WRA over spring break to volunteer some more, and I look forward to continuing to make a difference."
Senior Elizabeth Jackson, also a management major from Richmond, worked with Voice of the Blue Ridge to read the news for the visually impaired.
“Volunteering was an eye-opening experience. I found it so interesting how big a difference I was making just by reading for a few hours each week and providing the visually impaired with simple, everyday things to which most people have access,” Jackson said.
Childers added the community service component to the class after learning that a majority of his students who were about to graduate had never done any community service. "Business is laced throughout society and the community, not just in an office or behind a counter," he said.