Giving Back

"Communities that have colleges," says President Peggy R. Williams, "have tremendous resources at their fingertips, including intellectual capital and volunteerism." And, she believes, colleges have an obligation to contribute to their surrounding communities. Staff, faculty, and students at the School of Business have taken the president's call to service to heart. Each year they fan out into the community and around the world to help others. Here we highlight one faculty member, an administrator, and a student.

In summer 2002 assistant professor of business administration Margaret Nowicki, whose specialties are organizational behavior and human resources, traveled to rural Guatemala to work with Loretto nuns in their ministry to Mayan women. She spent several weeks hiking into back-country villages, where she helped survey housing quality. Her survey was the first necessary step in gaining government aid for improvements. "I was shocked at the way people are forced to live," says Nowicki.

Other Big Hearts in the Business School

Matt Colongeli '03 volunteered for two years as the assistant varsity baseball coach for Ithaca High School.

The dean's Student Advisory Council has adopted a portion of Pine Tree Road in Ithaca and cleans it every spring.

Associate professor of business administration Scott Erickson recently researched and wrote a substantial marketing report for United Way of Otsego/Delaware County.

In 2002-3 the Ithaca College Accounting Association and the Minority Business Students Association organized a dance for the Ithaca Youth Bureau and participated in a work day with the local YMCA, where they cleaned up the grounds, stuffed envelopes for a fund-raising mailing, and created art projects for kids.

Associate professor and chair of accounting Patricia Libby is treasurer of the Cascadilla Boat Club Boosters, which raises funds to support programs for high school rowers.

Associate professor of business administration Hormoz Movassaghi coaches youth soccer.

Pat Nally, assistant to the dean, is the treasurer of the First Baptist Church in Trumansburg.

Professor of business administration Raquib Zaman serves on the board of the Eleanor Roosevelt Fund, which offers no-interest loans to needy refugees.

After her trip to Guatemala, Nowicki, who is also a member of the Tompkins County Red Cross Disaster Team, decided that more training is important for her future volunteer work. This summer she attended a language course in Spain, and this fall she begins training to become an emergency medical technician.

Nowicki feels that it is important for students to think of other people, especially as they plan for careers in the commercial sector.

Associate dean Hugh Rowland serves on the board of trustees of the Fall Creek Elementary School-Age Program, which provides before- and after-school care for 100 children a year.

Rowland, whose 11-year-old son, Taylor, attends fifth grade at the school, became involved because he understands the need for high-quality child care, especially for lower-income, single-parent families. "Community-based services, while vital, are quite costly. To stay affordable, programs have to be very innovative," he says.

Rowland helps especially to lead the board's fiscal management policies, encouraging careful budgeting and planning.

Rowland acknowledges that many professional people contribute much to society through their jobs, but he also feels that volunteer work is essential. "You need the expertise and free labor of volunteers to accomplish the service at a cost that families can afford," he explains.

Stephanie Beaudet '04 is a no-nonsense young woman committed to working hard and helping others. A business administration major, she is a member of IC Habitat for Humanity. Each Saturday 50 members travel to "community builds" in Cortland, Syracuse, and Binghamton, where they learn on-the-job skills. And once a semester they spend a week in another part of the country, helping build a home.

Stephanie Beaudet '04 (center) and anticancer cross-country cyclists visited survivors en route.

Last January Beaudet traveled to Bridgeport, Connecticut, where she slept on a church floor by night and built houses by day. "I learned how to use a nail gun!" she laughs. "It was scary at first, but later it was fun."

Beaudet, the campus organization's fund-raising chair, finds that she's using her business skills as well. To finance its trips the group raises funds via activities that have included selling jewelry and an auction organized by Beaudet. "My business skills definitely come in handy," she says. "To run the auction I ask businesses for donations. I have to stay organized, write thank-you notes, and keep track of the money." Last year her committee raised $2,500.

Beaudet is a dedicated multicause volunteer. In summer 2002 she and a group of students biked from Baltimore to San Francisco to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Beaudet, who had never bicycled long-distance, rode almost 100 miles a day and raised $3,800. "I wanted to pass out at the end of each day, but it was an amazing trip," she says.

Beaudet believes that community service is important for her peers who are graduating into a post-Enron world. "Community service should be involved within a business --- not extra," she says, and credits her mother for fostering her desire to help others. "She believes that giving back is a vital part of experiencing life."

President Williams shares this conviction. "I was raised in an environment in which you were told that you need to live beyond yourself," she says. "College is where students practice what they'll be like as adults. We have a responsibility to show them how to volunteer and give them opportunities to practice. We learn so much from volunteering. We think we're giving, but in the end we're getting."


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A. Ozolins, Ithaca College Office of Publications, 28 October, 2003