3 Steps to Getting the Most Out of Community Outreach Efforts

Posted by on October 22, 2013

As a community-minded institution, Minnesota School of Business-St. Cloud understands that reaching out and connecting with our community doesn’t happen on its own. It requires faculty, staff and students’ deliberate effort and persistence.

Experience has taught us that successful community outreach begins with three major steps:

  • Inviting. Every year for Halloween, we invite the community to our Trunk or Treat event on campus. Now in its fourth year, Trunk or Treat began with
    community outreach, Minnesota School of Business

    Trunk or Treat 2011

    students and staff decorating cars, trucks and vans in spooky and fun themes as a safe alternative to trick-or-treating. The only cost of admission was a donation to the local food shelf. But with the success of the first event, we extended the invitation to local businesses and area organizations to join us, and Trunk or Treat grew and became a community mainstay that attracted nearly 1,000 people last year. Student association trunks and individual staff entries now join the Girl Scouts, local fire department, restaurants, Kidstop, Tri-County Humane Society and other businesses in treating area children to a day of fun. It is now a favorite local Halloween activity because so many community members participate. We also collect 400-500 pounds of food each year!

  • Involving. Minnesota School of Business understands that connecting with students begins with involving them in meaningful ways. The PrepMe award is an example of reaching out to area high school students to help them prepare for the ACT college entrance exam. Although Minnesota School of Business doesn’t currently use the exam as a placement tool, offering 1,000 free ACT prep programs to local students helps them consider their post-secondary options and plan for the future. Designed to help students achieve their ACT score goals and maximize the time spent studying, PrepMe helped Sartell senior Ethan Vanlonden gain confidence in taking the exam for a second time.

“This was my second test and I wanted to get help with the English/reading part of the ACT,” Ethan said. “This time I finished the sections and feel like I did better.  I liked that PrepMe gave tips and tricks, that it read to you the practice tests and that it gave you lesson plans on what you needed to do.  If you aren’t a real organized person, it sure helps sort out for you what you need to do and lets you see if you are staying on task.”

community outreach, Minnesota School of Business

Cathy Chabot introduces students and parents to the PrepMe program.

  • Imagining. Connecting to the community goes beyond a single-city focus or a special one-time event. It requires envisioning a better way of doing things for a lot of people and uniting them around a common idea and commitment. MSB is a charter member of Partner for Student Success, a central Minnesota initiative of schools, organizations and businesses that works to collectively impact the success of all children in post-secondary, career and civic engagement goals. The initiative’s focus on cradle to career success is an important element of the Greater St. Cloud Area Priorities and is in step with STRIVE networks nationwide. Being a part of this larger mission connects Minnesota School of Business in an integral way to its community. And being a part of comes about only after reaching out, inviting and involving others.

You can learn more about Minnesota School of Business here, or call 1-877-655-7676.

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