University Students Supporting EfforTZby EfforTZ Foundation on 04/27/12
On April 4, EfforTZ co-founder and president Mary Dupont returned to her alma mater Bryant University, (with her husband Bob Decelles, an EfforTZ board member), to spread the EfforTZ story to university leadership, faculty, and interested students. In a full day of activities, starting with a lengthy discussion with university president Ron Machtley and ending with lectures and dialogue in two forums of 40 students each, Mary talked about both the work of EfforTZ and the broader role of volunteerism in the career of business professionals.
Bob and I arrived on campus early to tour some of the newer facilities and meet with Ron Machtley, the innovative president of the university, who has been the driving force of its explosive growth over the past 15 years. Ron was extremely generous with his time as he shared his thoughts on the challenges confronting educational institutions today, Bryant's strategy to address these challenges, and the steps that are being taken to transform Bryant into a truly global institution.
Central to this strategy is creating greater opportunities for students to experience life and business in a foreign location sometime during their four years at the school. The EfforTZ story is totally compatible with this goal and specifically highlights a number of ways in which college-age students can make a difference in less developed countries.
Afterwards, our campus host Brian accompanied us to the faculty dining room where we had lunch and stimulating conversation with ten faculty members involved in non-profit activities, locally and globally. We learned of some of the ways that students are engaged in supporting these activities and how other students might be able to support EfforTZ.
Of particular relevance to us, is the work of associate professor Alex Perullo, Ph.D, a former Fulbright Scholar in Tanzania. He and his students continue to work on developing new thoughts on how to fight poverty, advance human rights, and provide sustainable social development in Tanzania and other less developed African countries.
After lunch, I moved to the first of my afternoon student forums in Professor Sandra Enos', Ph.D, Social Problems class. My subject matter for this group was EfforTZ Foundation: From Birth to Adulthood. The students in this class were both business and liberal arts majors working in teams on a number of contemporary social problems.
I discussed in detail the evolution of EfforTZ, the needs it is trying to fill in Tanzania, and the challenges we face in carrying out our mission. I also described a number of ways in which college-age young adults have helped us in the past and could help us going forward.
Next semester Professor Enos will integrate a number of EfforTZ projects into the curriculum for this class so that we will have a number of new EfforTZ volunteers on the ground at Bryant and/or on site in Tanzania! So exciting!
I was then escorted to a different classroom where an open forum of students from all class levels had assembled to discuss volunteerism in the non-profit arena. Upon entering the classroom, I was greeted by Christine, a young Bryant employee, wearing one of my Tanzanian-inspired jewelry pieces purchased on our website the week before. What a great surprise to see this beautiful piece on EfforTZ's newest supporter!
My remarks for this group were entitled: A Call to Service: Observations in Finding Opportunities to Make a Difference Locally and Globally. Here the exchange was dynamic as I shared my experiences in volunteering during my years in the business world, how they contributed to the mission of the non-profit organizations I assisted, and how this work both advanced my business career and prepared me for a second career in non-profit work after retiring from the business world over a decade ago.
After this session ended, one graduating student expressed an interest in coming to Tanzania after graduation and others requested contact information for me. I left encouraged, excited, and totally impressed by the spirit of volunteerism on the Bryant University campus. I can't wait to return in the fall for Professor Enos' new class and its focus on helping to move EfforTZ forward!