Voice Magazine / Stories / 2021 Summer / Student Innovations Become Cash for Charities

Student Innovations Become Cash for Charities

Faculty and students from the College of Business and Public Management’s Integrated Business Program found innovative ways to teach and to sell their products during the pandemic. Each group’s profits directly benefitted communities affected by the pandemic, including restaurant workers, students, and families of all backgrounds.

Rick Hasse didn’t expect to be teaching his students how to create and sell products in the midst of a pandemic. But since the sudden transition to remote learning in March 2020, he and his students have been challenged to become even more agile and savvy—with remarkable results.

A senior instructor in the College of Business and Public Management, Hasse leads the college’s signature Integrated Business Program. Students create and operate enterprises that sell actual products, with proceeds donated to charity.

Because of the pandemic, each team since spring 2020 has had to use innovative means to sell their products, with some going completely digital. The switch to online sales and marketing has not only helped them hone traditional business skills but cutting edge methods as well.

In the 2021 spring semester, the teams ran well ahead of last year in sales, and Hasse believes this has to do with the students’ dedication to helping their causes as well as savvy online media skills.

“These students picked charities where they really feel they are doing something and can sink their teeth into helping the community,” Hasse said.

One group, known as The Ohana Project, sold biodegradable eating utensils that are sustainable and travel-safe.

Another created GloForIt, a small, portable ring light that can be clamped to most surfaces. It is lightweight and rechargeable by USB port.

Wheel Meal is designed to solve a problem for people who live and work in their cars. A detachable steering wheel tray acts as both a table and a laptop holder for efficient use of interior automobile space.

“These three products are all relevant to the pandemic age,” said Hasse. “This sends a statement that our students are helping themselves and the community.”

Among the Charities Supported this Semester

  • 10,000 Degrees: an educational foundation supporting families and students of all backgrounds
  • Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation: aiding food workers affected by pandemic closures
  • University of La Verne Student Relief Fund: helping students meet financial burdens caused by the pandemic