Category Archives: Spotlight

Boundless

Noel Morris is motivated. As an instructor for the Department of Finance at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, he enjoys teaching and working directly with students. He loves his wife and two adult sons and delights in spending time with his granddaughter. Yet a service project outside of home and career has created additional purpose, joy and satisfaction and has changed his life in the process.

“I think I know why I’m here,” Morris said. “Next to raising my two boys, this is the most significant thing I’ve done.”

Working with his local Rotary Club in Springdale, Arkansas, Rotary District 6110 and American Wheelchair Mission – a nonprofit based in Henderson, Nevada – Morris has been raising funds and awareness for the purchase and delivery of wheelchairs for those in need in third world countries. Morris didn’t go looking for this project – it came to him.

In 2002, Morris was the incoming president for his Rotary Club, an international service organization dedicated to creating a better world. He attended an international Rotarian conference at which Chris Lewis, the president of the American Wheelchair Mission, introduced a wheelchair initiative. Morris’ local chapter adopted the service project, purchased wheelchairs and delivered them to disabled children and adults in Mexico.

“You would think after 16 years I’d be a little jaded, but this last trip was the best,” Morris said.

Morris (left) assists a wheelchair recipient in Mexico. [photo credit: American Wheelchair Mission]
Morris (left) assists a wheelchair recipient in Mexico. [photo credit: American Wheelchair Mission]
According to the World Health Organization, 65 million people need a wheelchair. Those in need who happen to live in a developing country face severe challenges in accessing a wheelchair, attending school, securing a job and enjoying basic quality of life.

The American Wheelchair Mission estimates the need even higher at 100 million people who are in need of a wheelchair.

The need is plainly apparent for the Rotarians as they deliver wheelchairs to mobility limited adults or children carried by their parents. Mobility issues affect the entire family. A wheelchair can allow parents to move older, heavier children. Parents can attend work and children can attend school. Wheelchairs can give owners self respect and power over their own lives.

Video courtesy of American Wheelchair Mission.

“I can easily say Noel’s actions in coordinating and distributing wheelchairs has changed the lives of literally thousands of families,” said Randy Hale, a photographer who has recorded eight years of wheelchair deliveries for the American Wheelchair Mission.

Morris shared a memory of Javier, a wheelchair recipient in Mexico who became paralyzed after falling out of a coconut tree at work. The father of two girls, Javier had been restricted to a bed for nine years. He heard about the wheelchair distribution and, even though he was not on recipient list, dragged himself to a taxi and approached the wheelchair give-away. The Rotarians made sure to find an extra wheelchair for him.

Morris said that Javier’s response was “You’ve made me a man again.” Now he can hold a job and help his young daughters get to school.

Morris and a mom hug after her daughter receives a new wheelchair. [photo credit: American Wheelchair Mission]
Morris and a mom hug after her daughter receives a new wheelchair. [photo credit: American Wheelchair Mission]
When delivering the chairs in Mexico, the Springdale Rotarians partner with the American Wheelchair Mission and the Center for Rehabilitation Infantile Telethon and local Rotarians. The center and the local Rotary Club each develop a list of those in need. The center provides rehabilitation for the wheelchair recipients as well.

As children grow older, they bring back their chairs to get a larger chair. In turn, the chair is refurbished and re-distributed to others in need. The cost of one shipping container with 280 wheelchairs is $42,000, plus shipping.

The Rotarians in Springdale target those with mobility limitations outside the United States because many inside the United States can qualify for a wheelchair through insurance programs, Veteran Affairs or Medicaid. Other countries do not have similar health care initiatives.

Morris is a member of the Rotary Club in Springdale and serves as the Rotary’s district chair for the wheelchair initiative. He also serves on the board of the American Wheelchair Mission. On a regular basis, Morris speaks to other Rotary Clubs and community groups about the service project.

Video Project Highlights Shook’s Freshman Business Connections Class

Freshman year is life changing. Everything – from laundry and dorm rooms to classes and free time – is new and different. Teens are expected to navigate through classes and campus, manage their time and thrive on their own.

To help students’ transition to this new lifestyle, Carole Shook, an instructor for the Department of Supply Chain Management at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, created a team project to encourage freshmen to get to know each other, discover resources on campus and strengthen personal development skills.

Freshman Business Connections students visit the McMillon Innovation Studio.
Freshman Business Connections students visit the McMillon Innovation Studio.

Within her fall 2017 Freshman Business Connections class, Shook assigned a team project to create a video overview of the McMillon Innovation Studio on campus and then present their findings in class. The studio, a gift from Walmart chief executive officer and Walton graduate Doug McMillon and his wife Shelley, tests new technologies and is designed to impact the future of retail. The project, designed by McMillon Innovation Studio director Clint Johnson and Shook, required teamwork, time management, exploration of Walton College resources and networking with classmates.

Freshman Business Connections, often referred to as FBC, is taught to first-year business students to acclimate them to campus, understand what resources are available to them, introduce them to other freshman and help them be successful at the Walton College. It introduces them to David W. Mullins Library for research, academic integrity and ethics, the Business Communications Lab for writing assistance, the Credit Counseling of Arkansas for personal finance management, Walton Career Services for job readiness and the degree opportunities at Walton. The class also helps students’ transition from high school to college by nurturing personal development skills such as time management, stress management, financial planning, health and wellness, diversity and team building.

“I would say team management was the greatest skill I improved at,” said Jay Lovaas, a freshman from Canton, Ga. “I had to effectively communicate with my team members, help with any questions they may have had, and rely on them to check my work as I checked theirs.”

After selecting teams, the freshmen interviewed staff and students at the studio and created outlines for videos and presentations. Each student was responsible for a portion of the project and collaborated with the team on deliverables.

Team members Ryan Hardwick, Alexis Humm, Cydney Feinstone, Elijah Kaplan and interviewer Noah Tidmore recorded video, captured still photography, created graphics and wrote interview questions. In their video below, freshman Noah Tidmore interviews Kayla Bruskas, a senior accounting student and student manager for the McMillon Innovation Studio.

Team members for this video include Ryan Hardwick, Alexis Humm, Cydney Feinstone, Elijah Kaplan and interviewer Noah Tidmore.

“This project was created to show that freshmen students can do amazing things,” Shook said. “These were great students who worked hard and with enthusiasm.”

Throughout the project, students learned about the opportunities at the McMillon Studio, got to know their team members and explored campus. Simply put, the project helped freshmen get connected to their new life on campus.

“It was just a fun class,” Lovaas said. “It gets you in the flow of going to class during your first semester. In my opinion, the greatest thing about FBC is meeting people.”

University of Arkansas Enactus Team Named Regional Champs

The University of Arkansas Enactus team won the regional championship at the Enactus Southeastern Regional Competition and advances to the national competition in May.

The team took the title at the regional competition in Dallas on Monday, April 16. At that competition, the team presented three projects they designed and implemented this academic year. These projects create an impact for residents in Northwest Arkansas fighting issues with homelessness, recidivism among youth and unemployment of disabled adults.

This is the first time in eight years that the University of Arkansas Enactus team will advance to the Enactus National Competition, which will be held in Kansas City, Missouri, May 20-22.

About Enactus: Enactus, an international nonprofit organization, seeks to empower students to make a difference through sustainable, entrepreneurial action. Enactus is a community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to enable human progress. Through student programs on campuses across the nation, Enactus applies business concepts to develop entrepreneurial projects that transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world.

EPIC Student Story – Landri McGregor

Landri McGregor is a senior at the University of Arkansas majoring in both supply chain and marketing in the Sam M. Walton College of Business. Originally from Golden, Colo., she decided to become a Razorback because her mom graduated with her MBA from Arkansas. Landri comes from a family of accountants and had originally planned to pursue her degree in accounting too, until she signed up for a supply chain class.

She told her mom she was going to pursue her degree in supply chain. She says it’s an exciting time to be in supply chain. It is a hot topic in the business world, and it is a competitive advantage for companies. It can help move them forward.

Like many other students with an interest in business, she wanted to study abroad and see more parts of the world. Her first experience was in India. While there, she learned about differences in transportation and logistics in India compared to the U.S. This experience has helped her understand trends and cultural considerations which impact the supply chain. The experience was a pivotal experience for her and she highly recommends to other students to study abroad.

Landri has also had several internship opportunities which have helped to prepare her for a career after graduation. Last summer, she worked at Walmart on the In-Store Activations team for the oral care department. She worked closely with their Innovations team, conducting research to ensure oral care products catch customers attention. This also added to her knowledge of the supply chain and how uncontrollable factors effect the supply chain. For example, the weather can drastically reduce the efficiency of a supply chain. Her biggest take away from this internship is how quickly retail is changing in real-time. There is so much change happening, but fundamentally the goals remain the same.

She now works at Nestle and has been offered a position to participate in their supply chain development program. She will start in Cleveland, Ohio, in their supply chain offices, and will move to other locations learning sourcing, factory and distribution center work. The program will help develop her skill and expertise in supply chain and logistics, and she is excited her supply chain degree has led her to this opportunity.

Landri is a role model for leadership and volunteerism. She currently serves as the vice president of Beta Gamma Sigma, is a member of the supply chain honors society, and until very recently chapter president of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Outside of school, she volunteers in elementary schools with children as part of Fundamentals for Kids program, lending her time as a teacher’s aide or reading to the kids.