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Project Management Class Conducts Projects for the Food Bank of Iowa and Orchard Place

January 21, 2020

The Grand View BSAD 365-Project Management class, taught by adjunct professor and alumna Brenda Gill, conducted three projects for the Food Bank of Iowa and Orchard Place last semester. One of the main learning objectives for the project management class is for students to have hands-on learning experiences with real life projects.  A lot of technical aspects of project management are covered and the learning experience is amplified if those tools and techniques can be put to use on an actual project. This course requires a tremendous amount of work (both in and out of class), but also offers tremendous reward.

Throughout the course of the semester, not only did the students learn the tools and techniques of project management, but also learned how to schedule and manage resources, manage their time and manage risks.

Professor Gill explains, "each professor is responsible for finding these projects. I work for Nationwide and we have an Office of Corporate Citizenship that works with several non-profits in our local community. Through them I was able to meet with several non-profits to determine what projects they may have for the students. I complied the information and presented the projects to the students. They divided into teams (we had two teams of six and one team of seven:  Team Viking, Team Brigade and Seal Team Six) and chose their projects. There were two projects chosen from the Food Bank of Iowa, and one from Orchard Place."

Orchard Place (Team Viking) asked the students to plan a mental health symposium that would take place the fall of 2020. The work included researching how to reach the target audience, finding venues, catering and speakers. 

The Food Bank’s First project (Seal Team Six) centered around their Back Pack Buddies program. The Back Pack Buddies program sends approximately 5,300 lunches to kids across the state that are food insecure. The initial request was to look at the process to determine how it could be made more efficient, but as the scope narrowed it became about boxes. The lunches are put into boxes that are stacked on pallets to be distributed. The boxes were not being returned to them, which at ten cents per box was becoming quite costly. The team looked for alternatives and ideas, and came up with two recommendations. 

The second project (Team Brigade) started off as looking at the Combat Hunger food drive process and make recommendations to improve that process. As the team met with the Food Bank the first time, one team member mentioned that at a previous school they had a “skip-a-meal” program that allowed college students to swipe their card and skip the meal, allowing the proceeds to be donated to a local food pantry. The Food Bank loved this idea, and the team focused on setting up a process to allow this to happen.