Each year Minnesota School of Business-St. Cloud hosts an open house filled with fun, games and food (of course!) as a token of student appreciation. An all-day event, students and their families are invited to attend, as well as community partners and other interested community members.Besides the good food and horseplay, it is an ideal opportunity for staff and students to forge relationships and community partners to enjoy the college setting in an informal way.
“The open house can bring anyone and everyone in,” says campus librarian Neil Vig. “It’s a good time for families to get together and enjoy a non-academic slice of life.”
Career and Academic Services Coordinator Jessica Ward agrees. “It’s networking on a different level—seeing people no longer behind a desk.”
The silliness of the day—as in a Pie-in-the-Face contest or Bouncing Boxers—heightens morale and brings out the humor in everyone, she maintains.
“[We have the open house] to show students we appreciate the hard work they put forth toward their future and to literally reward them for a job well done,” Ward says. But by including community partners, alumni and the families of future students and current students, “It builds community within the school,” she adds.The Pie-in-the-Face contest generated nearly $800 toward the student association coffers and created enthusiastic participation as the top 10 faculty and staff voted in stepped forward to get creamed.
Director of Career Services Shannon Templin believes “the pie contest was a big success on the employee side. All of the participants had very positive attitudes towards the event, and it generated a lot of monetary resources for the student associations. This was an excellent form of team building which has many intangible goodwill benefits for future projects.”
As students lined up to take their turn at the throw, Ward says it was clear that “students like seeing that side of their instructors—that they are willing to embarrass themselves.”
Cody Freese, a new student to campus in the health fitness specialist program, reflects that new people can feel “a little nervous—not [being] used to the college scene. You don’t know everybody and are coming into a new atmosphere. [The open house] helped a little bit,” he says. “It made us interact with each other in ways besides the classroom.”
Free food and fun times with staff, students and community equal a ticket to success every year.