A group of students from Blacksburg High School recently spent a day on the Radford University campus with the school’s students and faculty from the Davis College of Business and Economics (Davis) for a day of learning, insight and inspiration.
Kim Radford, Marketing Teacher, DECA Advisor and Work-based learning coordinator for Blacksburg High, worked with Danylle Kunkel, Ph.D., to arrange the unique learning experience..
“What I wanted these students to see is that college is not just about coming to class,” Kunkel said. “It is really important for them to see how what we do in high school connects with how they can be successful in college.”
Throughout their visit, the high school students were accompanied by Caleb Kipps, a current Radford University student pursuing a double major of management and entrepreneurship in addition to anthropology, with a minor in history.
Radford had nothing but glowing feedback to provide about Kipps and how he represented Radford University. “He was dressed professionally, he presented himself well, he knew everything about the college and he connected us with leaders.” She described him as “phenomenal.”
A Classroom Experience
The campus visit began with a tour of Davis College during which the students settlied into an engaging classroom experience in Dr. Kunkel’s leadership course. They were divided into groups and presented with real-life challenges that business and organizations face.Working with Radford University students, the high schoolers were charged with determining the root causes for the issue and devising solutions. They were problem-solving and learning alongside Radford University students.
The students were then afforded the opportunity to connect with students and faculty about items to consider as they look toward advancing their education after high school.
“It was great for them to be in a college atmosphere in which they didn’t feel they were number,” said Radford. “I tell them, they really need to seek out the programs that are going to meet their needs. At Radford there is a wonderful faculty and staff.”
A Guest Speaker Experience
The BHS students then had a unique and powerful experience as they joined students, faculty, staff, community members and business leaders for a leadership impact symposium, sponsored by BB&T.
“This symposium is part of our new partnership with BB&T in seeking to address social and ethical leadership,” said Kunkel. “What we are doing with this initiative is to challenge students to think in innovative ways.”
Barret Ward, CEO and Founder of Able, was the guest speaker at the symposium. His remarks, titled “Empowering Women is more than a Tag Line,” detailed how he became a social entrepreneur and discussed the future of socially-conscious practices within manufacturing.
Through Ward’s vision and leadership, Able is focused on the accountability of manufacturers in paying a living wage to all employees both domestic and abroad. Ward emphasized the pressing need for this accountability as only 2% of those working within fashion manufacturing are earning a living wage and 75% of those workers are women.
Radford said the conversation and learning will continue beyond this luncheon and day-long visit. She leads DECA at BHS, and this year’s annual conference will be in Nashville – conveniently the headquarters of Able. “We’re going to connect and we will go on a corporate office tour,” Radford said.