How 14 Students Apply Business, Communication Skills to Help Prevent Suicide

Posted by on July 11, 2013

This spring, 14 students in Introduction to Business and Business Communication classes at Minnesota School of Business-Lakeville utilized skills being learned in the classroom in order to support a nonprofit organization aimed at preventing suicide. The students, who worked with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, helped promote an upcoming event and provided operational recommendations for the organization.

The organization’s mission statement reads: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Members of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's board of directors meet at the Lakeville campus.

The 10 students enrolled in Business Communication worked with the organization to create a promotional brochure, calling attention to the organization’s upcoming Out of the Darkness Walk to Prevent Suicide, taking place in September. Four students in Introduction to Business worked on an in-depth SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and treats) analysis for the organization.

Business Communication
Lindsey Rafnson, a board member at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and a former admissions representative for Minnesota School of Business, met with the students to discuss the organization’s mission and what is being done in terms of community outreach. For their applied learning project, the students worked as a group to brainstorm ways they could best promote the upcoming fundraising event, while also informing the public about common misconceptions about suicide, warning signs of depression and where individuals can find support.

In addition to creating the brochure, the students participated in local canvassing in which they traveled to local businesses in the Lakeville area to display the brochures and discuss the importance of the work that the Foundation for Suicide Prevention is doing locally.

Introduction to Business
In the Introduction to Business class, students researched and evaluated the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in order to create a SWOT analysis. At the conclusion of their research, the students, many of whom had never heard of a SWOT analysis, were able to present to the organization’s board of directors.

As part of the SWOT, the students evaluated the organization’s presence in newspapers, magazines and other media. They also reviewed the organization’s website and the ease of use relating to the helpline.

In the end, not only did the students assist an organization working towards a great cause, but they were also able to practice vital business skills that they will use in their future careers.

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