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Social responsibility is a core Kellogg value and one of the defining pillars of the school’s mission.

Kellogg students during community impact day

‘Building a life’ through giving back

First-year students roll up their sleeves — and learn about the value of community service at Kellogg

By Rachel Farrell

9/11/2009 - On his second day of business school, Kellogg student Alejandro Osores ’11 was hard at work — but not because of his classes.

As part of the Kellogg School’s Community Impact Day, Osores — along with several dozen other first-year Kellogg students — was vigorously scrubbing lockers in the hallways of Family Focus, an Evanston-based community organization that serves families in need.

It was a first for Osores, who originates from Peru.

“Coming from a developing country, we don’t do much community service,” Osores explained as he scraped a piece of tape from the surface. “I’ve never done something like this, so I’m pretty happy I have the opportunity to do it. I think you have to get out of your comfort zone. It might sound weird, but it’s quite exciting to me.”

That’s one of the key reasons why community service is an integral part of first-year students’ Complete Immersion in Management Week, says Wendy Metter, associate director of student affairs at the Kellogg School. “Giving back is a core Kellogg value and one of the pillars” that define the school’s mission, she says. “Introducing these activities during orientation demonstrates their importance.”

This year, first-year students were sent to seven different locations around Evanston and Chicago, including Garfield Park Conservatory, Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly and Read Mental Health Center. Activities ranged from blazing a quarter-mile trail to socializing with senior citizens to organizing books in a library.

Prior to the service activities, Wally Scott, clinical professor of management at the Kellogg School, addressed the students in the Owen L. Coon Forum. “We’re trying to focus on moving from success to significance,” he said. “What you ought to think about is building a life, not a business career. Visions and aspirations are worthwhile, but only if you translate them into action. There’s no reason why that can’t begin this afternoon.”

Students appeared enthusiastic about the experience.

“It’s an important reflection on the values that a lot of the students have at Kellogg,” said Meg Alexander ’11, who was responsible for sorting books at Family Focus. “It’s nice that Kellogg students show that they like to be involved in the community, along with networking and furthering their own career ambitions.”

“It’s one of the reasons why I chose Kellogg,” said Shawn Hall ’11, a former Navy fighter pilot. “And I like the holistic approach to it, like Professor Scott talked about earlier today. It’s such a part of a fulfilling life.”