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Jesuit Values: A Business Perspective
Prompted by an interest in social justice that began with the Santa Clara Community Action Program (SCCAP), student Kyle Ozawa and his fellow undergraduates are taking steps to raise the profile of service learning in the Leavey School of Business.
Ozawa is in the Accelerated Cooperative Education program, a co-curricular program for outstanding business undergraduates established in 1998. As sophomores, ACE students spend time in community placements, and Ozawa wanted to know more about service opportunities that tied into his business education.
Although many business professors do support community-based learning—such as Assistant Professor and Dean Witter Fellow Kris Mitchener, who helps run a credit union in Oakland that welcomes student volunteers, and Dean's Executive Professor of Accounting Steven Wade, whose program helps low-income people with tax returns—they are not as familiar around campus as other community programs.
So Ozawa and other ACE students put their marketing skills to work for developing an internal outreach program for business students interested in social justice. It's a concern that President Locatelli, himself a business major, shares with students like Ozawa.
Now an immersion coordinator for SCCAP, Ozawa says immersion trips have broadened his perspective tremendously—from understanding the economics at play in Central America to seeing the devastating impact of coal mining on the environment and on communities in Appalachia in regions that nevertheless depend on mining economically. "I have a better notion of Jesuit education and a better understanding of business," he says, "now that I've seen the effects of globalization on El Salvador, or how a big corporation affects West Virginia."
Brenda Versteeg '97, assistant director of undergraduate business programs, is the ACE coordinator and advisor. She encourages students to think about service in their careers as well. "A nonprofit organization is still a business; how can you help it be the best business?" she says.
As they learn what they have to give, students also learn to value what they have, Versteeg says. "They come to realize, 'wow, we are very lucky here, to have this beautiful campus and all these opportunities, and that isn't the same experience for everyone.'"