Question: How do you take a wildly successful event like the Veterinary Technology Pet Wash at Minnesota School of Business and make it even better?
Answer: Increase senior student mentoring and tie the event to a cause near and dear to everyone’s heart.When instructor Jessica Ostendorf and veterinary technology students at Minnesota School of Business-St. Cloud hosted a Pet Wash last winter, they had no idea how successful it would turn out to be. So successful, as a matter of fact, that they had to turn people (and dogs) away and create a waiting list for the next event.
This spring’s Pet Wash filled immediately from that waiting list and required no promotion other than word of mouth. It also inspired students to dedicate the event’s donations to the Minnesota School of Business Relay for Life team.
Here is a conversation with some of the participants:
Q: What is it like having senior vet tech students apply their learning by teaching new students “the ropes?”
A: “The senior students are more experienced with performing the services [dental exams and expressing anal glands] that we offered at this dog wash event,” Ostendorf said. “They are more confident and are excited to share their skills with incoming vet tech students. [They] not only supported the earlier students throughout the event, but they helped to create connections, so that if the younger students have other questions as they go through the program, or if they need help with tutoring, then they won’t be afraid to approach the more experienced students for peer to peer assistance.”A: Vet tech student Dan Petersen said, “[I helped] to answer questions like ‘How far should I trim a black nail?’ or ‘What is the best way to restrain a huge dog that doesn’t want to be still while getting his ears cleaned?’ I find that mentoring reinforces the skills I have already learned. It’s fun to share my knowledge with people and see them succeed. And it is, of course, a big ego booster when someone looks to me for my knowledge or help.”
A: Heather Plante, veterinary technology student, said, “I was restraining [dogs] while [the younger students] cleaned ears or clipped nails. I love mentoring. It helps students become more comfortable.”
Q: What is it like learning from another student?A: Student Chelsea Johnson said, “I thought it was really cool how accommodating the senior students were for us newer students. They remained really patient with us and taught us new things along the way. I felt like it was easy to learn from another student. I think having input from other students on how they modified techniques throughout their college career gave me new ideas that I had never thought of before and enhanced my skills.
Q: All donations from the Pet Wash—$611—are going to Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society’s fundraiser for cancer research. How does it feel to contribute to this cause?
A: Petersen said, “It is a great feeling. Like most people, cancer has touched my life several times. So it feels great to help earn money to fight cancer.”
A: Plante added, “It feels amazing. My nine-year-old cousin, Kayleen, passed away on May 3 from leukemia. Helping to raise money for cancer research really makes me feel like I’m doing something to help other families not have to go through what I just went through.”