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September 18, 2009
By John Trent
Well, give me a "B"... give me a "U"... and line up over there, would you?
The noon-day September sun had warmed the Quad to the point on Wednesday that most passers-by would have been best-served to stay in T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops.
And yet, even with temperatures creeping into the high 80s, more than 300 College of Business students gathered on the Quad - many of them quite nattily dressed, in suits and ties, dress skirts and blouses - to not only display their sartorial splendor but to demonstrate their management skills and show their support for their college and its weeklong celebration of all things business, "Business Week."
Working together, the 300 students lined up with precision and with very little perspiration. When cued by a University photographer and videographer located nearby on the roof of Morrill Hall, the students proudly spelled the word "BUSINESS."
"I really think this helps get business out there,"said senior management and marketing major Dustin Steffey, wearing dark suit, tie and dark glasses. Steffey was patiently waiting for all of the students to gather. Once there, the students were divided into various teams representing each letter, with selected management students facilitating the final formation. "It gives everybody an idea of, 'Oh, hey, this is the College of Business, this is what the college is about, this sounds and looks fun. Get involved in it.'"
Steffey paused and grinned, remembering how the College of Business first hooked him.
"That's how I got involved, during Business Week, that's how I became a Business major,"he said. "I think it's a good marketing idea for us."
Jeff Hurzel, a senior marketing and management major from Carson City, agreed.
"It's a lot of fun,"he said of Wednesday's activity, and of Business Week. "It promotes our college in a unique way. There isn't another college on our campus that has a whole week dedicated to something like this. It helps us stick out from the rest of the campus."
Hurzel said that Wednesday's huge spelling was typical of his college experience since transferring following from his freshman year at UNLV to the University of Nevada, Reno.
"I expected Reno to be a college town, where everybody is close, where everybody is about the University, which is the way this campus really is,"he said. "In Reno, everyone knows about the University. They're either from here, or they're an alum, or at some point in time they've done something at or for the University. So it's been really awesome to get that college town experience."
Hurzel said he was confident he would be able to follow instructions and line up in the most efficient manner once it became time to spell "BUSINESS."
"I got the letter 'I,'" he said, nodding his head assuredly. "It's a straight line. Should be easy."
Toni Middleton, a senior international business major from Angel's Camp, Calif., said Wednesday's exercise was more than a photo opportunity.
"I like how they've gotten the management classes involved and we actually get to use the skills they've taught us,"she said. "We're supposed to use a lot of our leadership skills to recruit people to be in our individual letters. This gets everybody involved ... we get to use the skills that we've been going to school to learn. It's rewarding in that aspect."
In addition to the students, several faculty members and the college's administration were in attendance, including Dean Greg Mosier.
Mosier noted that the exercise was the brainchild of Jane Bessette, the College of Business' director of career services, who had helped conceptualize and organize it.
"This is one of those things,"Mosier said with a smile, "where all I have to do is just show up and be part of the big 'B' in 'Business.'"
More seriously, Mosier said spelling "Business" was a fun, yet real-world, kind of activity that would help the students who were involved.
"We want to have a lot of fun doing this, because part of Business Week is having a carnival atmosphere,"Mosier said, noting that Business Week had run the gamut from job fairs, resume-writing workshops, student recruiting events and understanding the fluid nature of the 21st century's business and job landscape. "In addition to the fun, we've got some management students who are directing where all of these letters are being spelled out. The students are learning the central management skills that you can learn in the College of Business."
Standing nearby, also a part of the "big 'B' in "Business," Associate Dean Kambiz Raffiee added, "It's management in practice."
Perhaps a practice that might become a college tradition, Steffey said.
"Just like the UNLV football games, I'm always going to remember spelling 'Business' on the Quad,"he said. "It'll be a fun time to come back 60 years from now and see a picture of this day posted somewhere. And who knows? Maybe we'll start doing this on a yearly basis."
John Trent is Senior Editor of News and Features in Digital Initiatives.