Members of the twentieth BBA+ Weekend class have launched Business Students Saving Lives (BSSL), a civic engagement project in their Business in Society class, to raise funds to benefit Salva Mi Vida, a private organization in Honduras that helps poor children who have cancer. They have adopted the phrase “How many lives will you save?” as their rallying cry.
A year’s sponsorship—which covers expenses including medications, transportation, hospital stays, and sometimes, funeral costs—is just $18.25 per child. Salva Mi Vida officials have guaranteed that all BSSL support will go toward those ends.
“This is a well-known children’s pediatric cancer foundation in Honduras,” said Robert Hogner, associate professor, Department of Management and International Business, coordinator of the college’s Civic Engagement Initiative, and the instructor of the course.
Ivette Medina, compensation specialist at UPS Supply Chain Solutions Latin America, brought the idea to the attention of her classmates. As the daughter of parents from Honduras, Medina had visited the country. In 1999, she had a health scare that sensitized her to the plight of children in the country battling cancer. Because of what she had seen in Honduras and her own experience, she proposed that the group’s project be to raise money for Salva Mi Vida. Her class eagerly agreed.
They hope to amass $20,000, and if they succeed, Hogner and Donald Roomes, director of the BBA+ programs, have pledged to send someone from the class to Honduras to deliver the check and establish a longer-term BBA+ Weekend-Salva Mi Vida relationship. Among the early donors have been BBA+ Weekend groups 19 and 21, who have challenged each other to raise money for the project.
New partnership expands definition of Global Leadership Service Projects.
One of the hurdles the group had to overcome was how to raise money for an organization beyond our borders.
“Students in the class were concerned about the complexity of working on an international project,” Medina said.
Fortunately, a new partnership between BSSL and the college’s International Business Honor Society (IBHS) has facilitated the effort and defined a new form of Global Leadership Service Project (GLSP) in the process.
“The IBHS has been organizing GLSPs to take students on humanitarian missions,” Hogner said. “They have completed two trips to Bangkok and one to Nicaragua, with others in the works. In this new role, the GLSP, as a spin-off of IBHS, will play a consulting, advisory, and facilitation role for other organizations with similar initiatives.”
“The relationship with IBHS has made it much easier for us to handle the complexity of an international project,” Medina said. “Beyond their expertise in fundraising and accounting, they offer services related to logistics, marketing, and management training.”
Project co-chair Ana Perez, inventory management manager for Aero Hardware & Supply, is managing the BSSL site.
As part of the relationship, students in the BBA+ Weekend class with a 3.25 GPA and an interest in international business are joining the IBHS. Those with a lower GPA can join provisionally for one semester, but will be expected to achieve a 3.25 GPA thereafter.