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New organizations, new possibilities

By Larshell Green
On January 31, 2018

The university’s college of business has created new ways to give their students extracurricular activities into their future careers so that they can start applying what they are learning in the classroom. File Photo/The Lion’s Roar

The university’s college of business prides itself on creating innovative learning environments for students to succeed in the real world. One of their advancements has been introducing four new student-led groups since Fall 2016. The College of Business Ambassadors, the Future Business Leaders of Southeastern Mentor Program, SLU Toastmasters and The President’s Council have been created recently to inspire and educate students in the department.

Interim Assistant Dean of the College of Business Dr. Jay Johnson admitted that about five years ago, the department began to reassess their strategic goals and objectives. The college of business’s Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business reaccreditation process sparked this change. The process revealed that although there was student participation in organizations, there was a lack of unity within them.

“There was no integration among the organizations,” said Johnson. “They were simply independent and did not offer as much to the students.  Also, the culture of the college was such that most students came to classes and left the building as soon as their classes were over.  The environment was not as helpful and inviting.  As part of our review of the goals for the college, we wanted to help make the extracurricular activities more meaningful and the culture more conducive to learning both in and beyond the classroom as part of a continuous improvement process and to better recruit and retain students.”

President of the College of Business Ambassadors, which was created in Fall 2016, Meghan Russell, who is currently in her second semester of the MBA program at Southeastern, explained that her responsibilities revolve around the promotion and planning of activities related to the college of business overall and to the organization.

She explained what the roles of ambassadors will be if they join the organization.

“New members can expect to gain a new appreciation for the college of business,” said Russell. “As ambassadors, our job is to work behind the scenes to recruit students for the College of Business. We do this by working orientations, hosting events and working with current faculty and students to continue to make the college of business stand out. Ambassadors are chosen as some of the top students from the college of business who want to see the college succeed.”

Kelsey Johnson, who is pursuing a Master’s degree in Business, is the current president of the Future Business Leaders of Southeastern Mentor Program. 

Johnson’s responsibilities include holding meetings, discussing new ideas, creating events where mentors and mentees can attend and relaying information from the college of business to them. 

Kelsey Johnson shared why she believes joining the mentor program is beneficial to students in her department. 

“We want mentees to feel comfortable enough to ask us any kind of questions or concerns they may have,” said Kelsey Johnson. “We want to make their college career go smoothly, especially their first year, and offer any assistance we can to do so. We also seek mentors who want to offer assistance to mentees and want mentees to be involved around campus, especially in the COB.”

Junior marketing major and Vice President of Public Relations for the SLU Toastmasters Mackenzi Picou revealed that although the organization was started on campus in the fall of 2016, it was not chartered until the spring of 2017. Her responsibilities include promoting the organization in order to recruit and welcoming new members.

According to Picou, Toastmasters aims to help members enhance skills in leadership and communication. 

“We do our best to create a fun and welcoming atmosphere, but our members are also extremely dedicated and eager to succeed,” said Picou. “Many of the members, as well as officers, in our club are business majors, and we know how crucial it is to stand out in the crowd in order to get the opportunities you’d like. Toastmasters gives you a lending hand in building your confidence to become a fantastic communicator and leader, giving you a better chance at the goals you are reaching for.”

Senior supply chain management major and President’s Council member Chelsie Reed admitted that the organization is made up of presidents of each organization in the college of business. Reed has earned membership for the organization because she serves as President of the Institute of Supply Management. 

Reed explained why The President’s Council invites select members to join the organization.

“It’s kind of a closed group,” said Reed. “New people that come in are probably going to be our successors. The people that we bring to the meetings are people that we expect to represent us when we leave. It’s really important for them to see how we do our reports, set goals and better the organizations by collaborating with other presidents. You can get a lot done by collaborating with people from different mindsets.”

Jay Johnson credited the change in participation with the remodeling of the lobby of Garrett Hall. He discussed how networking opportunities, friendships and collaboration among students and faculty members were created.

“Faculty members then increased their focus on preparing students to build better business networks and helping students get more from group or team projects because of more collaboration,” said Jay Johnson. 

Besides creating organizations, networking weeks have been introduced to allow business representatives to interact with students and faculty members. The business-only career fair “Biz-Connect” was introduced last spring to showcase career opportunities in the field of business.

Prospective members are asked to contact meghan.russell@selu.edu or april.kemp@selu.edu with any questions. Russell encouraged interested students to join the organization that she believes “instills a new level of confidence that you can take with you in the future.”

To learn more about the organization dedicated to assisting business majors’ transition into a path of success, contact Kelsey Johnson at kelsey.johnson-3@selu.edu.

“I believe it is important for students to join organizations because it helps students transition to college life,” said Kelsey Johnson. “They get them acquainted with their major, and it helps students to meet new people who can help them in their college career and beyond.”

Contact Reed at chelsie.reed@selu.edu, or visit the organization’s Facebook account to message the officers or find information about events. 

Picou encouraged those who are interested to contact SLU Toastmasters President Allie Dyer at allie.dyer@selu.edu and attend the first open house meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 5:30 p.m. She believes that joining the organization will encourage success personally and professionally.

“We believe that joining Toastmasters would mean breaking out of your shell and building your confidence, not just as a student or employee but as a person,” said Picou. 

Jay Johnson believes that the increase in organizations will also increase student engagement and success. 

“It is helping with their retention and progression towards their degree,” said Jay Johnson.  “It is helping with their choice of degree and developing their career choices and goals. So, every organization has improved in their ability to add value to the students’ learning and progression. Also, the college has received the benefit of more loyal and connected students who want to come back and share their experiences after graduation and access to more opportunities to provide for our current students.”

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