March 29, 2017
Through the Business and Community Leadership Fellows program, about 20 Darla Moore School of Business students will each be partnered with a service organization in the Columbia community. In their three years in the program, the students will complete traditional community service with their organizations as well as learn the operational aspects of the organization and how it impacts the community.
On March 22, potential applicants had the opportunity to meet with the participating service organizations at the First Annual BCLF Agency Fair. Seventeen local agencies were on hand to answer questions for students. Student applications are now available.
The idea behind the program is to have Moore School students go beyond merely completing their coursework. Whereas classes focus on developing specific business concepts and skills, the BCLF program intends to develop students’ understanding of the community around them and how they can help meet some of those needs.
“This program is intended to be a sort of true immersion community service experience,” said Steve Barth, director of student services and external relations.
Participants will be assigned to a local community organization that deals with an area of service they are passionate about, making it easier to pick up on the training and eventually identify potential programs that would support the organization’s goals. The agencies that students could be partnered with focus on issues such as education, homelessness, health, hunger and crisis assistance.
The ideal applicants will have earned at least 60 hours of community service over the course of their freshman year. Once accepted, sophomore participants serve at their assigned organizations at least four hours each week to become familiar with the businesses’ needs. Using the knowledge gleaned throughout their sophomore year, juniors will design and implement an agency project to improve their organizations’ functionality. Seniors will mentor succeeding BCLF cohorts while putting together a presentation of their experiences.
In addition to supplementing students’ classroom learning, the BCLF program greatly advances students’ progression toward Graduation with Leadership Distinction as the program includes all of the elements required for the GLD program.
“It’s going to be a commitment,” Barth said. “It’s going to be a three-year curriculum basically, but it will also be a unique opportunity.”
For more information about the program or how to apply, contact Steve Barth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Madeleine Vath