At the University of Oregon's fourth annual International Projects Fair, two Lundquist College undergraduates showed how business smarts have the power to make the world a better place.
Accounting major Patrick Wrobel '15 spent fall term getting to know Cape Town, South Africa, through homestays with four different families—two black, one white, and one Muslim.
His research project on the ways food-oriented startups can invigorate entire communities was inspired by an aspiring twenty-year-old restaurateur—also named Patrick—whom he met during his first homestay.
"When I first met him, he wouldn't stop talking about Gordon Ramsey," recalled Wrobel. "Patrick's plan was to open a restaurant that would serve Xhosa, Italian, and English food. He wanted to create a space where the three cultures could interact, to break down racial prejudices. It was incredibly inspiring."
Orion Falvey '13 spent winter term interning with a Cambodian-run nongovernmental organization based in Phnom Penh. Using skills he first developed through a real-world consulting project in senior instructor of business Anne Forrestel's Leadership in Action course, Falvey worked with the group's management to determine which of its programs were most effective.
"I got to see how foreign aid is evolving. Instead of just giving away money, food, and clothes, the next phase is building sustainable businesses, which can really move these villages out of poverty," said Falvey.
Social entrepreneurship is a longtime passion for Falvey. Last fall, he was one of two students whose plan for mobile health care in rural Oregon won second place in the state's first social entrepreneurship competition.
At the Lundquist College, global thinking and innovative entrepreneurship are central to our mission. "It is immensely satisfying for me to see our students move out of their comfort zones and challenge themselves to find new applications for the skills they learn here," said assistant dean of undergraduate programs Collette Niland.