Criminal justice students from Minnesota School of Business-Elk River, Wendy Brown and Amy Skog, recently completed an applied learning project in their Security class summer quarter. They had an opportunity to partner with Jay Stemler of Retail Design Services (RDS), a local business that helps retailers like Gap, Inc. to promote their brand in a variety of ways (including store fronts, shopping carts, etc).
The students were asked to partner with a local business to conduct a security threat assessment. Brown, a friend of Stemler, immediately thought of RDS and knew that they would have a need for the information. According to Brown, when they approached him about the project, “he gave the thumbs up right away.”
The students made an appointment to evaluate their facility for a variety of safety and security risks including whether they have accessible first aid stations, clear exits marked, surveillance on site, and what they do to keep the employees safe in emergency situations (tornado, fire, emergency weather, active shooter, etc.). They were able to tour the facility with Stemler and Mike Wirz, facility manager, ask questions, and take pictures along the way.
RDS has two facilities in Minnesota — one in Elk River next to Spectrum High School and one in Northfield. The students explained that their location next to Spectrum adds an additional security risk due to student traffic, school bus parking, etc. In addition, Brown explained, the company has other unique security issues that they deal with that require them to use no-compete clauses with outside vendors who create the needed designs.
Brown expressed her appreciation for how well the day went and explained, “Jay was very welcoming and so open to why we were there. He learned as much as we did.”
The students felt that they learned a lot and worked well as a team as they completed the observation report, wrote the proposal, and created the presentation for RDS. According to Skog, the entire experience was “really applied learning!”
Since presenting their recommendations, the students already received a response from Stemler expressing his appreciation for the student’s “…prompt and courteous attention to detail and … professionalism during [the] visit and meeting” in an email. He included a list of items that they planned to follow up on including updating their First Aid Kits and emergency plans and procedures, as well as reviewing building security with the landlords.
Brown shared, “We were so excited when we received his response because we had never done this before and we appreciate the feedback. Skog agreed explaining, “It was nice getting a positive result from someone we helped.”
The students look forward to their next applied learning project and opportunity to assist a community partner. For more information about MSB’s applied learning initiative, click here.