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TIDES rise to help New Orleans nonprofits

Will Dougherty (BSM ’10) spent part of last semester recruiting volunteers for New Orleans Outreach, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of New Orleans public schools. Kelly Buck (BSM ’10) helped organize a Valentine’s Day flower sale to raise funds for Teaching Responsible Earth Education, a local environmental group.

Dougherty and Buck are just two of the 180 freshmen who worked on behalf of a community organization as part of “More Than Just Business,” the Freeman School’s TIDES course.

TIDES––short for Tulane Interdisciplinary Experience Seminars––are special freshmen courses designed to combine academic and extracurricular activities around a particular topic. “More Than Just Business,” the TIDES course for freshmen interested in management, has been offered by the Freeman School since 2001, but the course was reconfigured in 2006-07 to satisfy part of the university’s new public service component, which requires all undergraduates to engage in community service rooted in an academic context.

According to Mike Hogg, associate dean for undergraduate education, students in each of TIDES’ seven sections began the fall semester by choosing a local business or organization to work on behalf of. Student teams in each section developed fundraising or marketing proposals for that organization and presented those ideas to the class. The entire class then voted on which proposal to pursue for the remainder of the course.

Despite their relative lack of business experience, Hogg says the students exhibited creativity and market savvy in meeting the needs of their clients. Buck’s class raised $1,300 for Teaching Responsible Earth Education by selling long-stem roses on Valentine’s Day, and Dougherty’s class signed up 20 volunteers for New Orleans Outreach by setting up information tables at Whole Foods Market, the Crescent City Farmers Markets and even along a Mardi Gras parade route.

“Often times people greeted us by saying, ‘Who are you guys?’” Dougherty says. “This was exactly what New Orleans Outreach wanted. We got their name and goals out into the community, and in addition we were able to increase their volunteers.”

Other TIDES projects this year included marketing and promoting an event for the Stone Center for Latin American Studies, developing an architectural education program for public school students for the Preservation Resource Center, hosting a fundraiser for the Neighborhood Art Gallery, and promoting the Ashé Cultural Arts Center in New Orleans.

“The most satisfying part of our project was the real-world experience,” says Dougherty. “Beyond the experience we gained, we were making a real impact on the education of New Orleans children.”

Last Updated 11/19/08