Extracurricular to Extra Income: How Helping Others Can Help Yourself

Posted by on July 23, 2013

Remember when we told you all about how Minnesota School of Business-Richfield’s student IT club, called Richfield IT Association (RITA), created a presentation on basic Windows usage for the Better Business Bureau’s members? Remember how we told you that the audience really loved it? Well, we weren’t kidding.

information technology, game and application development

Stephen Fisher, second from left, works with fellow IT classmates during the CTRL-Z event, fixing computers for free.

It went so well that several of the BBB members attended RITA’s IT Week seminars and services. IT program students, along with students from other computer-related programs, led workshops and seminars that taught fellow students, staff, faculty and the public about topics such as basic Windows programs and more complex programming issues.

One of the BBB presentation attendees was Cathy Ziegenhagen, who operates a medical supply business, Gopher Medical. She came over to the MSB-Richfield campus to attend an IT week event, the ever popular CTRL-Z, where RITA members will fix computers (for free!).

That’s where Cathy met Stephen Fisher, a game and application development student and RITA member, who was working at the computer services table.

“Cathy needed some advice on how to set up her corporate e-mail system and she had a couple of viruses on her computer,” Stephen said. “She seemed really thrilled to have someone to help her.”

Ziegenhagen was so impressed by the service she received that she asked Stephen if he would be available to be an on-call analyst for her.

“We worked out an hourly fee for service and I became her on-call IT service specialist,” Stephen said.

This arrangement has worked out so well that Ziegenhagen recommended Stephen to her lawyer, who was also in need of computer services. Stephen has since added another client and now has a small, but growing, consulting business started.

It’s just another example of how Minnesota School of Business’s focus on combining applied learning with service learning creates a win-win for the students and community alike.

“I’m happy that through RITA, I gain both skills and contacts,” Stephen said.

RITA is planning its next IT Week for Aug. 26-30, which will include two CTRL-Z events. Stay tuned for further details!

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