University of California, Riverside

Anderson Graduate School of Management

School of Business News

On May 21, UCR undergraduate and MBA students, led by SoBA lecturer Sean Jasso, helped rehabilitate mobile homes as part of the Habitat for Humanity Helping Hands program.

(June 1, 2011)

The thought of doing work around the house – especially on a Saturday – had always been a chore to UCR undergraduate business student Shawn Baker. But a recent volunteer experience with Habitat for Humanity showed him that painting and repairing a home for others can be, in his own words, “an extremely rewarding experience.”

The event, held May 21, was the brainchild of management lecturer Sean Jasso, who led the volunteer effort by undergraduate and MBA students from the UCR School of Business Administration (SoBA). Jasso had been helping Habitat for Humanity Riverside with strategic planning, and for the past year had been thinking of ways to help students get involved in their community through volunteerism.

Divided into teams of four, the over fifty business students painted, repaired, and landscaped homes at the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park in Corona. The groups were supervised by Kathy Michalak of Helping Hands, a Habitat for Humanity rehabilitation program designed to aid exterior improvements of mobile homes in Western Riverside County. The program is geared toward households with low and fixed incomes such as the disabled and seniors.

Maurice Allen, a senior undergraduate business student graduating this year, said, “Many of these senior citizens have contributed to our society, no matter how big or how small. Some have been mentors, teachers, military service personnel, and so much more. They helped lay the foundation so that we may live better lives.”

Among the work the students performed were moving gravel, pulling weeds, trimming hedges, laying gravel foundations, repairing and painting a wheelchair ramp, pruning a backyard garden, clearing brush, and painting a home. Undergraduate business student Chad Tito, whose team painted a mobile home, felt satisfaction upon seeing the homeowner’s reaction. “She was truly grateful, which made me feel better about myself, knowing that we had made a difference for the better in someone’s life,” he said.

MBA Student Association president-elect Blake Coffin also took time out of his weekend to help his peers repair homes. “It was a wonderful experience to be able to get the opportunity to help out local area residents and see the improvements happen through many hard working hands,” he said. “I would highly recommend the experience to everyone, especially if UCR students haven't had the ability or chance to volunteer in the past.”

Baker, the same business student who initially did not view house repairs as a favorable weekend activity, now plans to continue volunteering even after graduating. “I hope to be able to find an organization back home like Habitat for Humanity after I graduate so that I can continue providing services to people who are in need of them,” he said. Malory Smith, a graduating business student, also shared the same sentiment:  “I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and I am looking forward to working with this organization in the future as a UCR alumna.”

The effect volunteering has had on his students’ outlooks for the future is in line with Jasso’s vision, which is “to teach the spirit of volunteerism, enable leadership and service opportunities for future managers, and to continue to build the UCR brand in the community.”

Jasso said, “It’s inspirational to watch the students enjoy the privilege of volunteering and providing value to those in the community. And we had fun doing it.”

Jasso intends to continue coordinating future volunteering opportunities for students this summer, as well as January and May of next year.

News Contact:
Mark Manalang
Electronic Communications Manager

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