Guest blogger Rachna M. Talwar, Legal Program Chair and Service Learning Coordinator at the Minnesota School of Business Richfield campus, tells us about a recent service learning project where accounting students teamed up with a local nonprofit organization.
It was an exciting week in Managerial Accounting at Minnesota School of Business-Richfield. Students had the opportunity to do a final presentation for the nonprofit organization they have been working with all quarter.
Pedal and Roll is a local nonprofit that is the vision of Minnesota school teacher Liz Ogren. Liz was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease in 2007. Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that substantially impacts motor skills. Liz wanted to create an organization that motivated and encouraged Parkinson’s patients to be more active.
Studies have shown that quality of life for Parkinson’s patients can be improved with activities like biking. The organization helps provide access to the custom bikes needed for those afflicted with Parkinson’s. Additionally, they host bike fundraisers open to the entire community to help educate about their mission.
The students in the Managerial Accounting class were able to do a thorough analysis on the various fundraisers Pedal and Roll has hosted thus far. Through this analysis they were able to ascertain important information such as profit margins, cost break downs, and break even analysis. Additionally, they were able to create financial templates that the organization can use in the future to assist in obtaining this information prior to hosting a fundraiser to ensure effectiveness.
The Pedal and Roll board of directors visited the MSB-Richfield campus multiple times in order to facilitate this project. The initial visit included information about the organization and the personal story of the founder. The board was thrilled to come back for the final presentation the accounting students created. The presentation included specific financial findings, but also included a holistic summary of areas the organization can focus on. As a new charity, the group is excited to partner with the campus in multiple areas including legal, IT, business, and marketing.
The students were very excited to apply their skills in a meaningful context. As student Michael Becker stated, “We can actually help them, and do something with them, I think that is awesome!”
This project helps illustrate that applied learning opportunities are available in all contexts, and students benefit by applying skills in a real world setting.