Children peer in from the outside at a clinic in Huilloc, Peru, where Huntsman students volunteered on their trip to South America in summer 2009.
A young girl waits at a clinic where children were being tested for anemia. (Photos by Kristina Roskelley)
Three members of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business National Advisory Board went all the way to South America last summer to discover USU students.
Tim Barney, Scott Davis and Blake Dursteler already believed in students at the Huntsman School of Business. As National Advisory Board members they are strong supporters of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. And yet when they traveled to work with the students in South America in summer 2009, they all said they witnessed first-hand things that impressed and surprised them.
“One thing that really surprised me was the absolute quality of the students,” Barney said. “I wasn’t prepared with how bright they are and how focused they are. I just don’t think I had any of those qualities when I was their age. I’m not sure I do now.”
The three joined the students on the final leg of their journey in Peru where the students were working with entrepreneurs seeking funding from the school’s SEED program and where the students were staffing eyeglass clinics put on by the Hope Alliance.
Barney is the president and founder of Longview Partners, Scott Davis is the president of Mountain West Small Business Finance, and Blake Dursteler is the director and a board member of the C.L. Fred & Leora Mae Evans Family Charitable Foundation.
When they arrived in Peru all three were put to work helping the students near Trujillo, Peru.
“I watched the students work probably fourteen, fifteen hours a day on their projects for the ten days or so that we were in Trujillo,” Davis said. “They were up early, they were going all day. I’d wear out at about eleven or eleven thirty at night and they were still going strong.”
Dursteler said he was very impressed with the character, demeanor and work ethic of the students. He said he thinks they gained valuable experience on the trip.
He said working with people in a foreign country, in a different culture, “creates an empathy that allows you to relate to the people that, although they may be far and distant to you, they’re really not that different. Their life experiences are similar to ours, and I think that empathy is critical to an ethical based business management model.”
Davis agreed. He was especially moved by the work in the Hope Alliance eyeglass clinics that were directed by JoAn and Richard Criddle of Logan.
“It was really touching to see some of these people put these glasses on and their eyes open up big and they look around and have a big smile on their face,” he said.
They all agreed the students gained valuable experience as entrepreneurs. Many of the students took advantage of the opportunity to get advice from the board members. Davis said the hands-on approach to learning is very effective.
“There’s just no way that any instructor or well written textbook or set of multi-media materials could compare with the actual hands-on experience that these students get,” Davis said.