At Georgetown University, “men and women for others” is more than just a saying – it’s a way of life. As an introduction to this community value, students beginning the MBA Full-Time Program at the McDonough School of Business participated in Service Day during their orientation, introducing them to the local community and the school’s Jesuit heritage.
On the morning of Aug. 13, more than 250 students traveled by bus to four locations throughout the region. At Powell Elementary School in the District of Columbia, the volunteers prepared for the coming school year by painting, setting up classrooms, cleaning up the playground, and gardening. Jon van der Veen of Seattle, Wash., split his time by working outside to make the property safe and clean for the children and helping a teacher organize her classroom before the kids return in the fall. He said that Georgetown’s tradition of service added another dimension to his decision to earn an MBA at the McDonough School of Business.
“It would be easy to spend the next few years in an academic vacuum and not pay attention to the real world or the potential future impacts of decisions we may make as business leaders,” van der Veen said. “Active focus on service to others is a great way to prevent our studies from becoming detached from the world into which we will enter at the conclusion of our program.”
MBA students also volunteered at three Boys and Girls Clubs locations throughout Greater Washington. At the Manassas, Va., facility, students assisted with painting, landscaping, and organizational projects. In Alexandria, Va., they helped to run an “Olympics Day” for the children, including art, games, and dance for the summer camp participants. Students who traveled to the Jelleff Boys and Girls Club in Washington participated in similar activities for an end-of-summer carnival.
Incoming student Ahna Blessing-Moore of Woodside, Calif., spent the day playing games with the children at the Jelleff facility, and she said the experience has inspired her to seek out other community volunteer programs.
“Each time I interact with children it amazes me how little things can have such an impact and brighten their day,” she said. “They show emotion so easily, and it is refreshing and encouraging.”
The day’s activities were meant to demonstrate the school’s value of service to others, which is woven throughout all aspects of the MBA program, from orientation, to classroom projects, to student clubs and organizations.
“The more I learn about the University’s heritage, its history of openness to all belief systems, and its commitment to serving something larger than itself, the prouder I am to be a part of this community,” said Caryn Bonner of Arlington, Va.
She added, “I have the opportunity to learn among some of the brightest and most successful people around, and I am preparing for a rewarding and fulfilling career. My worries are small and my opportunities are great. Service Day reminded me to be grateful for that.”