Service Learning Course Assigned New Number

Learn by HELPING

By Dana Feuer

Collecting school supplies for underprivileged children and creating a marketing plan to help an animal shelter are only a couple of the ways Cal Poly Pomona College of Business Administration students are earning course credit.

“I have learned more in this class than I have in any of my other classes combined,” says marketing management student Nicolas Luevano. “This is because we put into practice what we’re reading. I acquired many skilled that cannot be revealed through filling out a Scantron.”

The course Luevano took emphasized principles behind non-profit marketing and IBM 499S was the upper-division version of two service-learning courses offered by the CBA in its heyday. Behind professor Joyce Emilio, worthwhile causes like delivering 1,860 crayons to excited elementary schoolers was the service-learning norm. Her spring 2017 retirement put the program on a brief hiatus while faculty regrouped.

Service-learning will return to the CBA during the upcoming winter and spring quarters. Although it has been reduced to the lower division offering of IBM 299S, the core principle of positively impacting the surrounding communities will remain the same.

“I see how service-learning courses shape students to become contributing members of their community and a larger society,” say Marketing Management professor Lydia Chen Shah (’01, Marketing). “It’s not just about giving money, it’s not just about fundraising. Sometimes, it’s about time. Sometimes it’s about word of mouth. Sometimes it’s about getting a message out. Students said, as a result of this course, they realize they as individuals can make an impact.”

Experienced teaching both levels of the course, 15 students in a Chen Shah 499S class presented ad campaign proposals to the marketing director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles. Proceeds from a mini-grant awarded to Chen Shah went toward helping another CBA alumna.

In early 2017, one of Chen Shah’s previous students put her in touch with Cal Poly Pomona alumna Shelley Foglesong. Foglesong was interim manager of shelter operations for Friends of Upland Animal Shelter challenged by a significant cut in funding.

Assistance from the $1,000 Center for Community mini-grant was accompanied by members of the class developing and executing marketing campaigns for Friends of Upland Animal Shelter. The CBA’s philanthropic student organization WAVES even got into the spirit by helping staff a shelter event.

“We have been able to provide this organization with great marketing collateral for upcoming events and also gave them great tips for their social media,” Luevano says. “It is up to the organization to adapt the resources we gave them in order for them to advance their marketing efforts now.”

The winter syllabus for IBM 299S focuses on a collaboration with an elementary school in West Covina composed primarily of disadvantaged youth. Students will be invited by 5th grade teacher and CPP alumna Ms. Gigi to share experiences and tips about being a college student. The goal is to get the young students excited about the prospects of higher education by marketing the concept in a relatable way.

The project for the spring 2018 course has yet to be determined, but based on precedent expect it to be fulfilling in multiple aspects.