Twice a year, MBA students at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business take a Saturday morning to volunteer in Houston. They call it Jones Gives Back, and it’s part of a growing effort by the students to provide more outreach opportunities for their classmates. Since 2011, Jones Gives Back has supported more than 30 organizations and involved MBAs from the full-time, professional and executive programs.
In September, 80 students and their family members spread out across Houston to serve the communities. Some spoke to high school kids about life and business skills at a leadership conference sponsored by Junior Achievement. Others held a workshop to help challenged individuals develop resumes through Career and Recovery Resources. Still others rebuilt houses destroyed by Hurricane Harvey so that people could return to their homes. During a rainy day, more than half of the Jones Gives Back volunteers participated in the Houston Zoo walk to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association and fellow classmate, Tim Masters, who was recently diagnosed with the disorder. The group raised over $3,000 toward MD research.
“It’s clear that our students have a desire to give back and put their skills and knowledge to practical use through active community engagement,” said Dave Barron, a professional MBA student and one of the leaders organizing the community service committee’s broadening scope.
That desire to give back has increased over the years. As more students want to participate, the committee, which is responsible for service outreach programs at the Jones School, wants to meet that demand and has created an outreach model that will allow organizations to have access to a new website where they can post community service opportunities. The committee wants to make it easier for students to pick a nonprofit, sign up and record hours volunteered. They want to leave a well-oiled legacy of giving at the business school. And they’re on their way.
With more opportunities to volunteer, especially for those MBAs with full-time jobs, more students are able to participate, impact the community and enhance the school’s presence throughout the city. The new outreach program is expected to launch in early 2019.