CAMDEN — Future business leaders at Rutgers University–Camden are putting their management skills to use in the real world by planning fundraising projects for area non-profit organizations.
The “Organizational Behavior” course is giving more than 70 students practical experience while developing leadership skills they can use to serve the needs of the community.
“It allows the students to set goals and then see tangible results of all of their work,” says Oscar Holmes IV, an assistant professor of management at the Rutgers School of Business–Camden who is teaching the course. “What they’re learning goes beyond classroom work and the case studies and places them in a position of leadership in which they are the individuals planning and executing projects that they come up with on their own.”
The students are working in groups of six to raise money for 13 nonprofit groups including the Red Cross, the United Way of Camden, and UrbanPromise in Camden. The students say they have participated in charitable events in the past, but organizing one gave them a completely different perspective.
“True leadership lies in the ability to serve others and that is one of the major things we have learned from our experience with the American Cancer Society,” says Ololade Ajiboye, an accounting major from Nigeria whose group is helping to organize a Relay for Life event this year.
Katelyn Stickney, an accounting major from Mount Laurel, says her group is partnering with a local fitness center to raise money for Cathedral Kitchen in Camden through gym memberships.
“We are creating valuable relationships with leaders and it’s helping us work together as a group to ensure a project is successful,” she says.
For another project, students organized a bowling tournament to raise funds for the Boys and Girls Club of Camden County and were also responsible for securing sponsors and advertisers.
“The experience has taught me that management and leadership play important roles in the nonprofit sector, and my team and I are grateful for the opportunity to have a hand in supporting a great cause,” says Vincent Tassone, a finance major from Williamstown.
Holmes says he hopes the students learn and apply strategies for creating and sustaining effective management practices while making connections with nonprofit leaders and people in the community.
“I want this course to teach the students the importance of not only developing their own skills, but also meeting the needs of other people,” he says. “I want it to offer a glimpse of the nonprofit world so that students see it as a viable career path and how it impacts the community around them. I want them to be confident, well-rounded business leaders.”