On a picture-perfect August afternoon more than 70 MBA students, along with Graduate Program faculty, staff and their families, participated in a community service project to feed hungry Rhode Islanders.
As part of their first course in the MBA program, the group headed to Franklin Farm, an historic not-for-profit community farm in Cumberland, RI, where they picked vegetables, turned over spent plants, and trimmed and weeded the gardens. Since 2005, the farm has supplied the RI Community Food Bank with more than 350,000 pounds of fresh, organic produce.
"To be able to make a difference in my local community while learning about where our food comes from was a special opportunity."
Working on the farm gave the students an opportunity to think globally and act locally while bonding with classmates in ways they would not have in a classroom-only setting.
When the project wrapped up for the day, Associate Dean of the College of Business Daniel Ames, Ph.D., told the exhausted group that, in keeping with Bryant’s mission, they were on the road to becoming innovative leaders of character. “You no longer have the right to be apathetic,” he said, emphasizing the responsibility a leader has to the community.
Service learning has not been a part of the MBA curriculum in the past, but the results were impressive and the impact measurable. According to Management Lecturer Christopher Ratcliffe, who led the group along with Associate Professor of Management Crystal Jiang, Ph.D., Bryant’s MBA students contributed the equivalent of four and a half 40-hour work weeks in one afternoon. “It was a very fulfilling and humbling experience,” said one-year MBA student Adam Winiarz.
Two-year MBA student Melissa Carella remarked, "Working hands-on with Franklin Farm was an unforgettable experience. To be able to make a difference in my local community while learning about where our food comes from was a special opportunity. I hope Bryant continues this tradition!"