Monday, March 29, 2010

The UW Oshkosh SHRM Trip to New Orleans in Review

In the past two days, I have been reflecting on the trip. I have done this knowing that I really needed to post one final blog entry. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I feel a little like Anthony Michael Hall’s character in The Breakfast Club. I am having difficulty putting my feelings about this trip into words. To some this trip might seem like a cheap way for students to go to a cool place over spring break. However, just like that Saturday morning detention in The Breakfast Club was much more than detention, this trip was much more than a trip. I can honestly say that this has been the most fulfilling experience I have had as an educator.

Why was this trip so fulfilling? Why was it so great? This trip was planned and made possible by students. The funding for the trip came from a grant from Target (The UW Oshkosh SHRM executive board applied for and received the grant funding.), the College of Business, and the student participants themselves. While I admit that these students all had the opportunity to experience New Orleans, they all spent a majority of their spring break getting up early to paint, mix cement by hand, dig holes, and install baseboards. Further, each student lived for a week in close quarters with four other people who the student likely did not know well prior to the trip.

This information will help you to understand, why I was so extremely proud when on their last day of service these students agreed to stay late on the Habitat site to insure that two cement pads that needed to be poured were finished. If you have ever mixed cement by hand, you will understand why leaving would have been a very attractive option. Our site leader gave our team the option to leave. Without hesitation, the students said they did not want to leave without finishing the job.

I also think this trip was great because it was a tremendous learning opportunity. I believe all of the participants including me learned a little more about each other, teamwork, New Orleans, and community service. The students showed a thirst for knowledge. They wanted to understand each other better. They wanted to learn how to work together to properly install baseboards. They wanted to venture into the 9th Ward to see what progress had been made toward reconstruction. They wanted to understand how human resources practices had been impacted at companies such as Emeril’s. They wanted to know why our 25-year-old site leader was working for Habitat. This curiosity and willingness to learn is inspiring to observe.

Finally, this trip reminded me that our student body consists of some really great people. I know some parents have been reading this blog, and I hope that they have continued to monitor it. It has been my pleasure to work with your sons and daughters (some for the week, others for a year or more). You should be very proud.

In closing, I would like to thank Target and the College of Business for helping to make this trip possible! We could not have done this without you!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fun with Tools

Today, we completed our third day of work. We were painting the interior walls and trim in the house. We are getting better at all of our tasks; however, we still make a few errors. Two of our students cut a board too short. After this happened, our site leader Aaron asked them to go find a board stretcher in his truck. They obliged. Please watch this video footage of one of the students explaining her experience.

We will complete a half day of work tomorrow and head home. Good bye New Orleans!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Paint, BBQ, and Brad Pitt

So, last night we bumped into Brad Pitt while eating dinner. He was extremely kind and offered to take us all out for coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde. Just kidding y' did make you read the post didn't it?

Today was our second work day. We felt like the day went better. We have several students who are interested in putting in base boards and painting for faculty for free. I'm full of jokes today! We did accomplish a lot, and we should be able to begin painting interior walls tomorrow.

Our site leader recommended a great BBQ restaurant for us. We ate at "The Joint" on Poland. We had brisket, ribs, pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, baked beans and more. We then drove deeper into the 9th Ward to see what progress has been made in that area since Hurricane Katrina. We found Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's "Make it Right Project". Please see our videos below.

We are off in search of souvenirs and more beignets!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

UW Oshkosh SHRM's First Day of Work with Habitat for Humanity

Today we completed our first day of work with Habitat for Humanity. When we originally arrived at the site, there were over 100 volunteers. We were split into smaller groups for work. We are doing trim work in a house in Harvey, Louisiana. Our site leader is named Aaron. We are working with another small group, and three AmeriCorp volunteers.

We worked on painting, installing base boards, and installing doors. Members of the group learned how to use saws, staple guns, and nail guns (no injuries yet). We are on our way to Cafe Du Monde and to ride the trolley into the Garden District.
The SHRM club members have arrived in New Orleans. This is what Professor DeArmond had to say about their first day.

So, we are now in New Orleans. We had a good trip down. We arrived at noon on Sunday and spent time exploring the French Quarter. Today we visited Emeril's Corporate Headquarters (Bam!), and learned more about their human resources function. We ate at Acme Oyster House. This is where Adam Richman from Man vs. Food recently ate 180 oysters. We sampled oysters, gumbo, red beans and rice, jambalaya and more. We also went on a swamp tour. Tomorrow we start work with Habitat for Humanity.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Marketing Club to Nashville

On Friday at roughly 1:15AM, the Marketing Club left Oshkosh to explore Nashville for the weekend and gather some knowledge on the workings of the music industry. We arrived at Chicago Midway before 5:00am and waited around for our flight to depart at 7:50am. Everyone was pretty tired, but yet excited at the same time. The majority of people rested up for what further entailed that day.
The sun rising was a welcome sight as we knew we would be flying out soon.

Our flight departed on time and we arrived safely in Nashville with a welcoming temperature in the 50's. Although not too warm, but it was still warmer than Wisconsin. The first event planned for the day was to visit Belmont University and get an inside look at what is going on the music industry today.

Belmont University is a school of over 4,500 students that offers both a Business degree and a music business degree along with many other degrees. We met with former UW Oshkosh faculty member Dr. Jeff Cornwall, now in the entrepreneurship program at Belmont and some other people straight from the music industry.
Scott Rouse, is an energetic producer who has received Grammy nominations and now focuses on producing blue grass music.
Rachel Barnhard, who is originally from the Midwest and now heads an interactive data based Marketing agency that focuses on the music and entertainment industry in Nashville.

There was a lot of energy in the room as it was very interesting to hear about some of the insides and evolution of the music industry. A popular topic was how the music industry was evolving in the digital age. They explained about the new mediums that the internet and other technology provided to market the music industry. Traditional media was on the way out as Itunes, phone apps, internet campaigns and more were the new next big thing.

The most interesting topic of note which can be related back to all students was the importance of creating relationships and networking with people. They all stressed how important this was being one of the bigger factors of being successful in the music industry. As the popular saying was, "It is not what you know, but who knows you and what they think about you."

After the great visit to Belmont, we were off and headed to Capitol Records to get the story from their CEO and various marketing departments.

The presentation from Capitol Records was great as it provided a different outlook on the music industry than Belmont offered. Capitol Records used more of a traditional method to market their signed artists. The one reoccurring topic from Belmont to Capitol Records though was the importance of creating relationships and networking with people. Each speaker told their story of moving to Nashville and developing their relationships to achieve their job position. After the Capitol Records presentation, the whole club was lucky to receive Cd's from some of Capitol Record's artists including Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan, Eric Church and Keith Urban.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Construction on the new academic building, which will be the new home to the College of Business, is moving right along! Sections of walls are being poured this week.  If you'd like to view photos of the progress, please visit our Facebook page.