We all get the same amount of hours in a day. How you choose to spend them determines what you can accomplish. With loads of school work, full time jobs and families, one group of Illinois State University Corporate MBA (CMBA) students is finding time to give back to the community in big ways.
John Schurter works nonstop. He’s a CPA for CliftonLarsonAllen LLC, chairman of a charitable trust and a den leader for the Cub Scouts. He also has a long history of volunteerism.
“I like to create an environment where I can be a good role model for people,” he said. “I have a 7-year-old son. I want to show him and others that you can be busy and still find time to give back to the community.”
Schurter wanted to share his drive for community service while enrolled in Illinois State’s CMBA program. Since May 2016, he and a handful of other CMBA students have been working with various nonprofit organizations offering services such as fundraising, marketing and general labor.
Not only do their efforts give back to the community, they also bring awareness to the program and make Illinois State students stand out.
“By taking what we’re learning and offering assistance to the community, we’re showing strong initiative,” Schurter said. “That’s a great way to market the program and yourself.”
With the slogan, “Giving back to the community. Providing a helping hand,” the students decided to combine forces and do more community projects as a larger group.
Most projects happen on the weekend. Getting volunteers who are busy with jobs, school work and life obligations might seem like a tough task. The students already dedicate every other Friday evening and Saturday to class. However, there’s no sign of a volunteer shortage.
On August 20, about 10 CMBA students worked with Midwest Food Bank moving pallets and helping out with other labor they needed.
“When it comes to working as a larger group, we’re just getting the wheels off the ground,” said Dana Jokerst, claims manager for State Farm. “Going forward, we’re going to continue seeking out volunteer opportunities and sharing them with the group.”
Helping to pursue those opportunities includes Sarah Stanojevic, an account support associate for Ernst and Young, and Missy Thomas, a business analyst for State Farm. The group has potential future projects with a local shelter, Habitat for Humanity and Pekin Outreach Initiative, an organization that provides nutritious snacks to schools.
The students also have the capability to offer virtual assistance, such as fundraising, to organizations. This will help them expand their reach to other distant communities.
“It’s really exciting thinking about everything we can do and how many communities we can impact,” said Stanojevic.
Giving back is a great way to utilize what’s learned in the classroom for a greater cause, but it also has a personal benefit for Jokerst. “Volunteering fuels me,” she said. “When someone tells me I’ve helped them, it gives me so much energy and makes me better at my day-to-day functions.”
All four students are set to finish the CMBA program in August 2017. The group hopes future students continue the initiative.
“Earning an MBA is more than just taking classes,” Schurter said. “The world is bigger than ourselves. We need to give back. Otherwise, what’s the point?”
Learn more about the Illinois State Corporate MBA.