One semester, the class worked with a local bicycle shop.
Another semester, it helped plan ways for IUDM to recruit more freshmen, faculty and international ?students.
In a different semester, it thought of ways to increase business for a local ?restaurant.
This semester, the class is working with bees.
Students are working with junior Ellie Smyes this semester to help with the management side of the beekeeping project she started last year.
Smyes began the beekeeping project at IU after falling in love with bees when she spent a summer volunteering as a beekeeper’s assistant at the Stratford Ecological Center in Powell, Ohio.
Smyes spent the first semester of her sophomore year researching all aspects of beekeeping to supplement the knowledge she gained during the summer.
Smyes combined all the information she had collected into a manual and presented it to the director of the Hilltop Garden and Nature Center. The director loved the idea and approved Smyes’ project.
Smyes received a grant from the Hutton Honors College to help fund her project. This spring, Smyes began purchasing equipment for the hives, preparing the materials and getting the hives ready for habitation. The bees arrived in May.
Smyes was approached by Rubinstein, clinical associate professor of management and entrepreneurship at the Kelley School of Business, after she took a class taught by Rubinstein through the honors college her sophomore year.
“That was something I had already been working on,” Smyes said. “This is this beekeeping project program, and I told him about the impact I hope to have, and he just got really excited.”
Rubinstein said he was inspired by listening to Smyes discussing her beekeeping project.
“I could see as Ellie talked about her project that this was a great opportunity, not just for Ellie but for anyone who’d learn about it,” ?Rubinstein said.
After listening to Symes talk about her beekeeping project in the Hutton class, Rubinstein approached her to work as a consultant and teaching assistant for his Z302 class, which works with an organization each ?semester as a class project.
“It’s a consulting project,” Rubinstein said. “Organizations come to us with issues that they have, and they ask my students how they can solve those issues, and it gives my students the chance to be, in a slightly distant way, entrepreneurs in their ?own right.”
Smyes is serving as a consultant and lead TA for the project for the Z302 class, which consists of three sections, including an honors section.
Each student was required to write a paper giving ideas on how Smyes can help highlight her beekeeping program and establish it on campus.
“They are really inspiring papers, so they are basically figuring out all of my management issues,” said Symes. “So they are all writing papers about how do I increase awareness? They are all writing about how do I win ?volunteers? They are all writing about how do I increase the futurity of the project?”
Despite the students’ lack of beekeeping knowledge, Rubinstein thinks they are able to give valuable insight into Smyes’ project.
“My class is not filled with beekeepers,” Rubinstein said. “I don’t think any of them knew a thing about a bee before this project began. But they found out about some course in biology that Ellie should contact, they found out about some need for some of the by-products, like some of the beeswax ... So I know that my students are adding something to the ?picture.”
Smyes said every paper she has read has given her an idea of how to improve her beekeeping project. During Thanksgiving break, she will be combining all the ideas she has gathered from the students’ papers into a document with chronological goals. Smyes will also present the ideas she has collected to the class.
“The way these students think is great, and it’s getting them to approach the project in a way I just haven’t really approached it,” Smyes said. “It’s helping me. It’s honestly giving me inspiration that this could be more than I ever imagined it.”
Rubinstein said the class projects are beneficial to students by providing insight into the real world.
“The project and the class is about entrepreneurship — creating something where nothing existed before,” Rubinstein. “What starts here changes the world for the better. That’s what entrepreneurship is about. This project is not a make-work project. This project is like a glimpse into the struggle of achieving something better and a glimpse into the ingredients that make success possible.”
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