The term “business” is often associated with images of glass towers and dark navy suits, a world where the ambitious rise up at the expense of those left beneath them. According to a 2011 study published by the Journal of Business Ethics, American universities offering business degrees are aware of these stereotypes and are working to defy them through community and service learning initiatives. The Journal explains that many universities require their business majors to invest time in community service and humanistic philosophy. With these skills, business majors can “reflect broadly upon their roles and responsibilities as citizens through a combination of academic coursework and community service.”
With its deeply ingrained Franciscan values, Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio takes integration of service learning in education very seriously. More importantly, these values extend to its business courses. Lourdes’ College of Business and Leadership (COBAL) serves as the core of the institution’s Business program; and like all Lourdes students, undergraduate COBAL students are required to complete 20 hours of service learning as part of their degree requirements.
The goals of Lourdes’ service learning requirement are to benefit the community and to enhance student learning. This spring, COBAL students went a step further by collaborating with the Padua Center on several Service Learning Projects. The Padua Center serves economically disadvantaged people of all ages and helps them to realize their potential through counseling and support.
COBAL Instructor Jonathan Boyle, MBA, stresses the importance of service learning and this partnership in particular. He believes it provides a perfect opportunity for benefiting the community and providing personal growth for students. “The students and I looked forward to assisting the Padua Center with this important work. Our College of Business and Leadership prepares students to be 21st century leaders who understand the importance of ethics and integrity and the role they play in the marketplace.”
COBAL students contributed to Padua Center in the following ways:
- Assisting the organization on Earth Day by planting flowers and teaching gardening skills to local children.
- Welcoming these youngsters to the Lourdes University campus for a field day and to learn more about college.
- Treating them to a Toledo Symphony Orchestra performance at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle.
- Bringing the Padua Center youth to a Lourdes University men’s baseball game at Mercy Field.
To learn more about the Padua Center, visit www.paduacenter.org. To learn more about the Lourdes University College of Business and Leadership “Where Business is Taught as a Noble ProfessionTM,” visit www.lourdes.edu/cobal.