Students in Matthew McCarter’s Organizational Behavior and Management class recently completed an experiential learning project that resulted in almost $25,000 being raised for local charities.
The UTSA Apprentice exercise places each student on a team that must plan, organize and manage a third-party fundraising event for a local charity.
While some teams hosted events such as golf outings, dodge ball tournaments and bowling events, one team thought outside the box and raised over $15,000 from almost 1,200 pounds of donated clothing.
“I’ve never had a team accomplish something that extravagant before,” said McCarter, associate professor of management in the UTSA College of Business.
This high-performing team was comprised of Andrew Wilcoxson, Grant Lucas and Sarah Meek. Their project was Spring Cleaning with Meaning. Their team chose to work with Hill Country Family Services, an organization that provides food and emergency financial support to Kendall County families, since Lucas had previously supported this organization.
“A lot of our success was being able to work with the charity and come up with ideas that would benefit them,” said Meek, team project manager and a graduate student in the Master of Science in Information Technology program. “We listened to their ideas and were able to draw upon their past experiences.”
The team learned that 45 percent of the organization’s revenue came from their thrift store, so they decided to organize a clothing drive and partner with area churches.
“It was eye opening to learn firsthand how difficult it is to get people to help out, even if it is for charity,” said Wilcoxson, a graduate student in the MBA program.
Applying skills learned from the classroom, the project allowed the teams to practice their negotiation, project management and leadership skills in a real-world setting.
“When students experience management theory and principles through hands-on learning in the field, the theories and principles they learn in class become their maps, their compass and their tools to navigate them out of a problem,” McCarter said.
Showcasing how UTSA gives back to the community, final grades will not be assessed until next week. But, McCarter is proud of the achievements of his students. And, according to his students, the results of the exercise were far more beneficial than writing a typical essay.
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