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Students in Organizational Behavior work on their project – to build accessible garden beds for a Green Bay community – in the colleges scene shop.

May 2011

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Students grow through garden project

On April 21, Jason Senjem (Business Administration) and his Organizational Behavior students put classroom ideas into action to help a local community garden.

Guided by educational theorist David Kolb’s experiential-learning model, they constructed accessible raised beds behind the Norbertine Volunteer Community (NVC) residence in Green Bay. The college’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team, which Senjem advises, will present the service project at a national competition in Minneapolis May 10-12.

This is the first garden of its kind in Green Bay. NVC director Ellen Mommaerts says, “The raised garden beds will produce fruit and vegetables to supplement people’s diets and promote healthy living, but also make it clear that focusing on accessibility, and the needs of the whole community to participate in such a project, are critical and in line with the mission of the Norbertine Volunteer Community and St. Norbert College.” 

Senjem describes his role as facilitator of the learning process rather than lecturer on theories and concepts. He explains that under Kolb’s model, the learning process often begins with a concrete experience that leads to reflective observation about the experience. Accordingly, students used their shared experience during the build to reflect on personal performance and behavior as it affected the team.

Lowe’s of Appleton, Wis., provided funding for the project through its Charitable and Educational Foundation Community Improvement Challenge. Senjem successfully applied for a Lowe’s grant available only to SIFE teams. The Three Corners Neighborhood Association of Green Bay, a community organization dedicated to making a difference, also sponsored the project.

Managing the mission
Andrew Carver ’11 says the project involved managing a comprehensive planning process. “We had subgroups that were in charge of various things such as marketing, operations, and the development of a mission statement that was presented to the Green Bay city council.”

The class has worked on everything from business plan and marketing aspects through community needs assessment and the design/build process. They attended city meetings throughout the approval process, working with the community development specialist, city planning and neighborhood association leadership in order to see their project through. The opportunity to work with the Norbertine Volunteer Community, now in its third year, was particularly valuable.

The SIFE team presented its entry to the college community yesterday as part of its preparation for nationals next week.

May 3, 2011

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