March 31, 2017 12:00 am

Pierce College Prof. Paul Gerhardt, Ph.D.’s Management 283 students came together winter quarter to present projects that would not only earn them high marks, but could also make a very real difference in the community. Students worked in groups to create sustainable systems that can help local organizations give back to the community in a variety of ways.

One group of students worked hard to develop a food bank located inside a local church, and created a plan to keep the food bank filled with items to help people in need. The group also planned activities and events to raise awareness of the food bank in the local community.

Another group created an organization that developed and distributed bags of personal hygiene products to homeless people in the area. These students made contact with local hotels to donate toiletries and other items. “These students were so moved by creating systems that could help so many people that it changed the way they viewed the world,” Gerhardt said. “The project inspired them to continue to talk about how important it is to help people in need.”

Another group created an organization that would help battered women and their families find a safe place to stay. “This particular group found the project to be so big that they did not have enough time to work through it,” Gerhardt said. “Instead, one of the students plans to continue working on it because she found a passion and a cause that she truly believes in.”

The final student project was to help youth in Pierce County learn how to grow plants using hydroponics to preserve water. “This project truly helped youth learn about a better way to treat the earth,” he said.

Each student presentation discussed theories they applied, systems created and the community service work they provided. “Running a successful business is really about developing quality relationships,” Gerhardt said. “We are fulfilled in our careers when we are serving others, and I hope these students can recognize the value in serving others.”