Making a Positive Impact
Students in the Operations Management course ended the spring semester with more than an incomparable experience creating a T-shirt brand – they got a firsthand look at the power of making a difference in their community.
Stonehill Students Donate Proceeds From Course Project to Local Community During Pandemic
When Carter Pearl ’21, of Topsham, Maine, began his spring semester junior year at Stonehill, he was excited to take Operations Management, a course known around campus for providing the invaluable hands-on experience and growth that come from creating, designing and marketing your own T-shirt brand. What he wasn’t expecting was a global pandemic that would not only put hundreds of miles between him and his project partners but also transform the mission of their course project beyond generating T-shirt sales. Students wanted to do their part in a time of crisis.
“This presented an opportunity for us both to do some mission-based marketing and to expand our sales within the businesses we started,” said Pearl, a finance and economics double major. “But the real opportunity was being able to support the community.”
“We are discovering leadership is forged in crisis,” said Benjamin Marcus, assistant professor of business administration. “Students are finding out that, even in difficult situations, they can make positive contributions. What better environment to learn in than to have real-world challenges and say, ‘Let’s find a way.’?”
The class decided to contribute some or all of the proceeds from their T-shirt sales to charitable organizations providing critical services during the pandemic.
“In class, we discussed ethical decision-making in business operations, and you see it with our choosing to support local organizations,” said Pearl. “This decision shows the commitment and passion Stonehill students have for our community.”
Importance of Making a Positive Impact in the Local Community
Pearl and his group founded Timeless Clothing and decided that 100% of their profits will be donated to The Charity Guild, a food pantry and thrift shop in Brockton, Massachusetts. The thrift shop, which funds a majority of the food pantry, was shut down during the pandemic as a nonessential business.
“Every shirt sold translates to 15 to 20 meals that The Charity Guild will be able to provide to the local community,” said Pearl. “We knew that our dollar amount may not be large following the sales of these shirts, so we chose an organization where we would be able to make a considerable and positive impact.”
Jacqueline Flynn ’21, of Amity Harbor, New York, and Brendan Murphy ’20, of Queens, New York, are members of Collee Clothing, which is donating its proceeds to The Greater Boston Food Bank.
“We can complain that we aren’t at Stonehill anymore and we have to do remote learning, but it’s tougher for people who don’t have access to food,” said Murphy, a management major with a management information systems concentration and a computer science minor.
“Our donation will help The Greater Boston Food Bank make sure people are safe [and] healthy and have access to food,” said Flynn, an accounting major and economics minor.
Alisha Collins ’07 is the director of corporate and community engagement at The Greater Boston Food Bank. She says the organization is grateful to see Stonehill students doing their part.
"We are so thankful that Stonehill College students chose to support GBFB during this pandemic,” said Collins. “COVID-19 has caused food insecurity to rise to historic levels throughout the country, so now more than ever, the students generosity will help ensure that we are able to continue to serve our neighbors in need during this difficult time.”
Business Course Results in Incomparable Hands-On Experiences
Students studying business administration in the Meehan School of Business choose between two courses as part of the business core, Operations Management or Decision Support Systems and Business Intelligence.
Marcus recently restructured the Operations Management course with the goal of having students “do something.” The first half of the semester is a crash course in operations and the critical knowledge needed for product design, supply chains, industry and forecasting. Students then spend the second half putting these into practice.
“The best mode of learning, for business in particular, is to have your hands in it,” said Marcus. “It is important to get a real-world education about risk and overcoming challenges.”
The groups design a product, have it manufactured, build websites, use social media and analyze marketing capabilities, and sell the product. Real money is at stake — students make decisions and live with the consequences. They experience real-world fear and accomplishment.
“It’s not [just] learning — it [also] is an experience,” said Flynn. “It’s a unique class to take in college because I was in the process from cradle to grave, something most people won’t get to experience.”
Students and Marcus say this course is representative of the Stonehill experience.
“One of the Meehan School’s strengths is that our small class sizes let us be innovative, agile and flexible as well as be creative in developing new approaches,” said Marcus.
“The commitment from our faculty allows us to do projects of this nature,” said Pearl. “And the impact we will have on the community is better having been done at Stonehill.”
Pandemic Reminds Students of What It Means to Be a Skyhawk
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, students, faculty and staff pivoted — from the transition to remote learning and online instruction to study abroad and internship experiences cut short, many overcame new obstacles. The six groups composed of 48 students across two sections of Operations Management responded in a way true to the culture of Stonehill.
“The Stonehill community is giving,” said Flynn. “To donate a portion of our profits to something other than ourselves defines Stonehill as a college.”
For these students, the course turned out to be more than just real-world business experience — it was a lesson in ethical decision-making during a time of crisis.
“I didn’t realize it was going to take this turn, but the more learning opportunities the better,” said Murphy. “This isn’t just a project; it’s [also] a company. On top of that, it’s not just a company; we [also] are helping a bigger cause.”
Timeless Clothing, supporting The Charity Guild
Untied, supporting UNICEF