Team Building class learns through service

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Kids Food Basket Event

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GVL / Archive Kids Food Basket Event

Rachel Melke

While most classes at Grand Valley State University try to integrate teamwork with group projects, one class in particular breathes it: MGT 345, or Team Building.

There are four sections, taught by professors Monica Allen, William Mothersell and Joshua Gerlick.

In Allen’s class, the students are given the following criteria to complete a team project: The project must be large enough to entail a group effort, the project should be manageable enough for you to address in one semester, the project can be within the university or the community at large and the project must make some contribution to society.

Although the students can select any project to work on, the goal is to produce a creative outcome.

“I try not to get too involved in the decision making because I do not want to stifle the creativity of the teams,” Allen said.

Overall, Allen has been pleased with the results she has seen.

“I have been thoroughly amazed, semester after semester, at the amount of creativity and work that the students put into their projects,” Allen said. “Some teams choose projects that focus on the GVSU community, while others focus on the city of GR, West Michigan as a whole and some even do projects that go beyond our state. This project allows the students to ‘give back’ their time and talent to others and to also learn how to work with their teammates to make some contribution to society.”

Mothersell offers a similar assignment, while Gerlick spreads multiple team building assignments throughout the semester.

“For me it is very rewarding to see the students learn,” Allen said. “I would rather they learn by doing than to sit and listen to me lecture about how to be a team. The best way to learn is to just do it.”


Students in Allen’s class — Lindsey Marvicsin, Julia Hisey, Topher Jarman, Nhat Nguyen and Liz Slatin — chose to work with the Soles4Souls organization. This organization “collects new shoes to give relief to the victims of abject suffering and collects used shoes to support micro-business efforts to eradicate poverty,” as noted on the mission section on their website.

“We knew that organizations existed that gave shoes to children in need, and thought this one would be a good one to partner with because it helps individuals in over 127 different countries and 55 percent of their distribution occurs right here in the U.S,” Marvicsin said.

To help this organization, this group is hosting a 5k run/walk on campus to raise money for Soles4Souls.

“We decided to raise money for the Soles4Souls because it’s one of two ways that we could help the organization,” Marvicsin said. “We figured that raising money through registration fees for the 5k would be easiest for college students to help in a fun way, rather than having them find or buy shoes to donate.”

The 5k will be held this Friday at 5 p.m. Due to the proximity to St. Patrick’s Day, the race has taken that theme.

“I am really looking forward to seeing all of the creative costumes and outfits that people show up in for the race,” Jarman said. “This project has led to starting an event that we hope can start a yearly Shamrock Run.”

Team member Hisey noted that it is not only a good cause, but may be fun for those who attend.

“We’ll be having donations from Louie’s Locker Room for prizes given to the race winners and winner of costume contest,” she said. “It should be a good time and for a great cause.”

For more information about the event, search Shamrock Run 2012 on Facebook.

Kids’ Food Basket

Students that are a part of Mothersell’s class — Erica Avram, Tiffany Blossom, Jeff Anderson, Steve Childs and Judson Rodriquez — chose to go for a different approach, working with Kids’ Food Basket.

Kids’ Food Basket is a local organization to benefit the greater Grand Rapids area. Their work includes making Sack Suppers that serve more than 4,800 kids every day, which include 1,000 calories and the five food groups.

“We all wanted to find something that we were all be passionate about when asked in our management class to pick a way to help out in the community,” Anderson said. “We decided what better way then to help feed kids in need.”

The MGT 345 group will be have a table set up in the Kirkhof lobby beginning tomorrow and will continue through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The group will be looking for any size of money donations as well as non-perishable food items for the Sack Suppers like cracker packs and juice boxes.

In addition to donations, they will hold a bag-decorating contest.

“The kids who receive the Sack Suppers love when the bags are decorated,” Avram said.

For $1, anyone can take a white bag home to decorate and return it. The dollar is enough to provide a dinner to one hungry child. The best bag will win a gift card to a restaurant and/or clothing items from Kids’ Food Basket.

“We decided to have a couple different events and to hold the food drive at Kirkhoff, as well as a Dine To Donate at Applebee’s,” Anderson said.

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