College students –- many social media pros already –- were looped into a community service project that had them pair their digital media skills with a meaningful cause. The result was raised awareness for the students and the cause they worked on.
UT Dallas professor Dr. Diane McNulty includes issues in her business ethics course at the Naveen Jindal School of Management related to corporate social responsibility. Using connections she’s developed through the years with the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, she had her students undertake a project that ties social media with social causes.
“In order to understand why corporations have initiatives that are based on social responsibility, students need to understand them from the ground up,” McNulty said.
“In order to understand why corporations have initiatives that are based on social responsibility, students need to understand them from the ground up.”
Dr. Diane McNulty
United Way’s innovative GroundFloor Startup Accelerator is a nine-month program to guide and fund early-stage social ventures. The program’s most recent initiative, OneUpTheVote, had a competition that not only raised funds for startups, but also offered participating social entrepreneurs prizes for competing. Since it coincided with McNulty’s class, she decided to enter her students into the competition.
United Way offered her class a one-day workshop. It showcased videos of some of the social ventures, 14 new nonprofit companies chosen to compete in the social fundraising campaign. The workshop offered students coaching on effective methods to promote the nonprofits.
Angela Lang and Kate Knight of United Way gave the students an overview of the initiative, answered questions, and then guided them through the process of adding the proper hashtags essential to gaining a wider audience for their chosen cause.
“The great thing about this is that regardless of what you’re interested in, you can get behind a cause that you’re really passionate about,” Lang said.
When it came time for the hands-on portion of the workshop, students sprang into action, creating videos and uploading them within minutes. The hope was these videos would go viral.
David Napier, a senior business administration major, attended the workshop and found it to be a worthwhile class event.
“[The 14 nonprofits] are all really good causes,” he said. “Since we are an ethics class, community service is something that the new age of corporate structure is trying to get more involved in. Introducing the class to that is directly linked to ethics.”
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