Community partnerships bring opportunities to business students

Posted on 11 July 2012 by

Tusculum students David Talley and Kirstie Gust, standing, address the Greene County Partnership board of directors during its meeting. To their left is Dr. Michelle Freeman, associate professor of business administration.

Students in the Tusculum College School of Business are utilizing the surrounding community as a classroom through a variety of programs that allow collaborative, mutually-beneficial partnerships to develop. Opportunities have ranged from working with the Greene County Partnership to expand their career options to conducting a surplus vehicle assessment for the local county government.

“Students in the Business Club and in our business program have been engaged not only on campus, but are making a difference in the community,” said Dr. Michelle Freeman, associate professor of business administration.

Students in the accounting program recently undertook a project to provide data and analysis for the Greene County Commission on ways for the county to dispose of surplus vehicles. The study was requested by Commissioner David Crum who visited the cost accounting class earlier in the year.

Students conducted a cost analysis to see if the county could generate more revenue or decrease costs by looking at alternative markets.

As part of the project, the students, Beth Anne Collins, a junior from Greeneville, Kirstie Gust, a recent graduate from Rutledge and Trey Whitfield, a senior from Greeneville, made a presentation with their recommendations before the full Greene County Commission. The group presented five alternatives, two of which showed strategies to yield higher return on the sale of vehicles.

In another project, the Tusculum College Business Club signed a partnership agreement with the Greene County Partnership, committing to work together to provide resources and support for Tusculum College Business Clubs’ initiatives. The Greene County Partnership is composed of the county’s economic development organization, Chamber of Commerce, tourism program, Partners In Education and Keep Greene Beautiful organization.

“The Greene County Partnership will support the Tusculum College Business Club in a variety of ways, establishing a positive relationship among students and faculty,” said Tom Ferguson, president of the Greene County Partnership. High on the priority list was getting soon-to-be-graduate resumes in front of local employers.


“We want to encourage our local employers to take a look at some of the bright and talented students in our own back yard before they take advantage of opportunities somewhere else,” Ferguson added. Ferguson is also a member of the Tusculum College Board of Trustees.


The club will continue to offer its entrepreneurial program, “Help Me Help You,” for small business owners, and, according to student David Talley, a junior from Bristol, Va., the Business Club will also offer other services through their Center for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship to support local business and those who have completed the “Help Me Help You” program.


“We want to continue to expand on the support we can provide to help businesses grow and be successful after leaving the initial phase of the program,” said Talley.


The partnership will also work to foster deeper relationships with companies in the community through the Greene County Partnership, opening doors for job shadowing, internships and other meaningful opportunities for students that can also provide benefit to the participating company or organization.


“We have a very bright, talented and community-minded group of students in our program that has for too long been a ‘best-kept’ secret in the community. We don’t want it to be a secret any longer,” said Freeman.

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