Priorities:Fordham University Student Priorities

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Strategy 1: Directory of Recent Alumni (2023 Fellows)

While there is already an alumni mentorship program offered through Fordham’s Career Services Office, it is only available to Juniors and Seniors. While the final two years of college is an appropriate time to have mentors when applying to jobs, finalizing minors, and participating in other programs, we found that it may also be helpful for first year students to have alumni mentors because many are curious to find a career path to pursue and have ambitious career goals that they need to prepare for early on. This alumni directory would be online, and willing undergraduate business alumni can add their bios and LinkedIn to the directory. Students would be able to look through the directory and filter alumni by tags to find someone in a role, career path, or company that they’d be interested in learning more about. The first-year students could then schedule a coffee chat with an alum of their choosing, and the alum could share information about their career path, helpful classes and faculty members, helpful programs, their experiences working in certain fields and companies, etc.

Strategy 2: First-Year Roadmap (2023 Fellows)

We feel that first-years often feel completely lost upon entering their university. We think students have existential anxiety linked to uncertainty surrounding their professional development and what they should be looking to achieve each year at Fordham. To mitigate this problem, we would create a brochure for Gabelli School of Business first-years that will provide a rough roadmap of what they should strive to achieve each year. Short synopses of helpful, career-oriented resources would be included as well. These pamphlets would hopefully be distributed to students in mass during their first months at the university through career services, PPD (a Gabelli-focused department), first-year faculty, and/or freshmen orientation. The brochures may also include relevant information for students interested in diversity, equity, and inclusion specific resources.

Strategy 3: Career Insights Video Gallery (2023 Fellows)

Many underclassmen report feeling anxious and unprepared for their impending career requirements (internships and technical knowledge expectations). With the help of a Fordham First Look Video Gallery, Fordham can provide videos narrated or contributed to by students, alumni, industry professionals, and professors which explain different industries and/or their respective roles. Using YouTube or another easily accessible video creation platform, Fordham will be able to streamline and amalgamate a breadth of knowledge and expertise for underclassmen to take advantage of. Internship recruitment has also been cited as a particular stressor for both first-year and sophomore students. So, the video gallery can help shed more light on what certain industries are really about and what many jobs actually entail. As the business sector in general, and finance sector in specific, can seem endless in its subsection, underclassmen students can feel overwhelmed and underprepared. The Fordham First Look Video Gallery’s purpose is to address this.  

Strategy 4: Industry Open House (2023 Fellows)

With more than 200,000 Fordham alumni located all over the world and its strategic location in what we can easily define as the capital of the world, Fordham University should create on-campus Industry Open House events. “Once a Ram, Always a Ram” - Networking is an essential part of the job search process. Fordham should gather alumni from all industries imaginable for a day or a weekend of networking and genuine conversation. Imagine this as a different homecoming, a call for a specific group of professionals who can also entertain stimulating talks with fellow alumni in the same industry. We firmly believe in the impact that these kinds of interactions can have on a student’s academic and professional journey. Being able to speak freely to several professionals who have been in the field for less or more years would considerably help a student in crafting the best version of themselves. This would take out all the formality and fear that we always find in the average career-related events.

Strategy 1: Cultural Food Festival (2022 Fellows)

Many students, especially those with dietary restrictions, believe that they do not have enough options for campus dining. Additionally, many former freshmen talked about their struggles when they were adjusting to campus life, as it was their first time being truly independent from their families and away from their hometowns. Our solution for increasing diversity and inclusion and helping those whose diets are incompatible with campus dining is to hold an annual cultural food festival on campus. This festival will include tabling events held by both students and local restaurants. Doing so would increase cultural representation and inclusivity, promote local small businesses, and promote community across campus overall.

To execute this idea, we would need to contact the Deans as well as the executives who manage campus dining to make sure that this festival complies with campus policy and can be feasibly held. Vanditha and Julia would handle contacting the Deans, while Eden and Ojaswi would contact campus dining and other staff on campus. We would also need to find students and local restaurants who are interested in hosting tables at the event. Student representatives could include leaders of cultural clubs and Fordham's Office of Multicultural Affairs committees. As someone with experience in the restaurant industry, Eden would take the lead here, with the rest of the teammates focusing on cold-calling, research, and gathering student input. Additionally, due to the potential for this event having high costs, we would need to figure out if admission fees and payments to table hosts are necessary, which may or may not affect the the level of interest for potential attendees.

Strategy 2: More Vegan/Vegetarian Options (2022 Fellows)

While Fordham hosts a diverse group of students on campus, they don't adequately nourish each type of person. Many vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free students struggle to enjoy their food experience because of a lack of quality and/or a lack of choice amongst the food options that are currently offered. This issue leaves students unsatisfied and constantly worrying about their nutrition, when their focus should be on their school work and trying their hardest. To alleviate some of this stress and promote a healthy, balanced diet for all, our solution is to introduce more inclusive food options to campus. This solution will help these special diet students enjoy meals more, but it will also benefit the greater group of students to have more options for healthy eating/alternative meals. This solution is 2-part: the one part is the creation of new menus at the existing dining establishments that will be specifically for special diets, and the second part is introducing more vegan/vegetarian/gluten free brands and items into the POD grocery store on campus.

Student involvement is essential to properly carry out this idea because without the students feedback and ideas, we will have little direction on what these students truly enjoy eating. To test the waters, Eden began including students that have special diets. She conducted separate interviews with students from different grade levels who are gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian. The feedback confirmed our assumptions and fears. The students all separately mentioned that they feel like they are at a disadvantage because of their lifestyles, and that they wish they were offered the same amount of choices as someone who can eat things like bread or meat. Due to their passion in the subject, Eden and Julia will be leading communication with the Deans and the head of dining services to understand what is currently working and what indeed is not. Vanditha will be running point on the focus groups; gathering opinions and asking the needed questions to find out what kids need to have a better on campus living experience. Ojaswi would play the role a middleman on the team. She will take the feedback that Vanditha gathered, research the answers to any lingering questions, and organize the data to hand off to Julia and Eden to parlay to the Deans.

The biggest challenge that the team needs to remember is that college campuses have strict contracts with the outside dining service that caters all food. The current dining service simply may not offer many alternative options, and if that is the case, the team will adjust and adapt to get the ball rolling on innovating the current menus and meals available.

Strategy 3: Therapy Dogs for Mental Health (2022 Fellows)

Animals have been used for therapeutic causes in various settings – mental health clinics, yoga centers, and even at some universities! At Fordham, however, that isn't a reality. Students complain about midterms and finals week just like they do everywhere else, but the lack of available appointments with Fordham Counseling makes coping with stress and low mental health extremely difficult. Our solution to this problem lies in the implementation of therapy dogs for mental health, particularly by partnering with local shelters and clinics and bringing the dogs over to campus during the last few weeks of the semester, which are often the most stressful times of the year.

Specifically, our plan is to harness the power of student input – each of us will survey Fordham's student body at different points during the training in order to gain the widest variety of answers in terms of how students feel about therapy dogs. Vanditha's survey from 8/10/22 indicates that almost 93% of students at Fordham (out of her 1,034 followers) support therapy dogs for stress relief, with only 7% feeling indifferent and a whopping 0% that disagree. Julia and Vanditha will be responsible for contacting the Deans and setting up meetings to discuss the idea, while Eden and Ojaswi will contact other staff, namely social psychology professors on campus and possibly the counseling department. We plan to continue surveying the student body to look for changes and are thinking about setting up a stand at the Club Fair where we would set up an "opinion jar," allowing students to silently contribute their thoughts on our solution.

The next step is to arrange the dogs themselves, and we would work with local clinics and organizations for this. All four teammates would call and visit shelters and clinics, and we expect this process to take a while. Finally, if this idea works out and we are able to secure the dogs, we will all survey the student body and the end of the year to find out if our solution actually helped.

Strategy 4: New Student Orientation: Focusing on Social Adjustment (2022 Fellows)

Being a freshmen is an intimidating and uncomfortable period. From moving into dorms, leaving family, and making new friends, adjusting to college life isn't always easy for all. To tackle this specific problem, many college campuses, if not all, have new-student orientations at the beginning of the fall semester. These orientations vary between each campus, but most go over the importance of academics, time-management, and "putting yourself out there". At Fordham, new-student orientation lasts around 2-3 days, to which is not a lot of time given to freshmen to ease into the pace of college. Ideally, if new-student orientation at Fordham could be extended to 5 days, it would be very beneficial for over-whelmed freshmen and would allow them to take in what's expected at these institutions and to better assimilate into the campus community.

Our plan regarding new-student orientation is to reform and create an extended orientation period that alleviates new students of their concerns, fears, and uneasiness. To do this, we would think that sending out pre-orientation surveys would be beneficial to see what the concerns of each student is, these results will be shared with their respective orientation leaders which will help the OL's formulate the best interactive plan for their cohorts. Fordham does a great job at selecting upperclass student leaders to accommodate freshmen through an application and selection process for "OL's" (orientation leaders), however, some students have struggles with communicating and connecting with their orientation leaders. To accommodate both students and OL's, it should be emphasized that OL's should have a casual and easy-going attitude with the freshmen. By doing this, we are looking for less of a formal approach between OL's and students but rather a buddy system approach where students can easily talk to and rely on their OL's.

Another concern regarding Fordham's new-student orientation is the rigidity of the scheduled days. As a new-student, I felt as if the days were very packed. This caused some rush and anxiety in the mornings when I had a mandatory meeting time at 8 am. By extending the orientation period from 2-3 days to a full 5 days, orientation days can start a bit later, students have the opportunity to bond more with their cohorts as well as their OL's, and students can adapt to a routine.

In reformatting Fordham's new-student orientation, it is anticipated that many issues could arise. This regards scheduling with faculty, students and the academic calendar timeline. The biggest challenge that we will have to keep in mind is the budget the university is willing/not willing to spend for extending orientation to 5 whole days. I believe that it was more convenient for the university, faculty, and students to limit the orientation process to 2-3 days, however, as a group we should look how we can work with the current budget for orientation and how that could be extended to 5 days without over-extenuating the university budget, resources, and student/faculty schedules.

2021 Change Story Video

Strategy 1: Commuter Accessibility (2021 Fellows)

One of the most popular comments we received from both students and faculty surrounded the availability of spaces on campus for students to easily do their work and meet in groups, especially for commuters. The spaces which exist on campus are difficult to reserve, unavailable to students, or under-advertised. As part of our four-pronged approach to alleviating this issue, we plan to extend commuter accessibility to the study lounges located in our upperclassmen dorms. This will allow all students to collaborate in and utilize our innovation space with ease, and without tenuous reservation.

Strategy 2: Think Tank Creative Space (2021 Fellows)

Think Tank Creative Space: As many students indicated, there are not enough places on campus to collaborate with peers and work together. Students from different clubs can’t always make it to the meeting; the number of clubs you can attend is also limited due to scheduling issues. Unaware of all opportunities on campus, students tend to go back home to complete their work. Therefore, creating a Think Tank Creative Space would be beneficial to campus. This would provide students with the needed collaborative space. With a set location accessible to all undergraduate and graduate students, they would be able to attend creative workshops hosted by the UIF students and various club leaders. At the same time, club leaders would be trained to host workshops available for students in and outside of their clubs. This would allow them to reach a greater audience and raise awareness of their clubs.

Strategy 3: Promotion of Spaces (2021 Fellows)

While prototyping "Living and Learning Lounges", our team found out that many students weren't aware of in-campus private study areas and lounges. Partially, this was a reason why students weren't taking advantage of the spaces... thus a strategic priority must be to promote these areas and the new ones that will be added through our UIF project. Moreover, the new spaces will have to be rebranded in order for them to be effectively reintroduced into the Fordham campus. Likewise, constant reminders should be set out to students through newsletters or Instagram stories in order to keep students aware of the spaces available to them.

Strategy 4: Room Design (2021 Fellows)

While interviewing students for our training we discovered that what many students want is a space in which they can work together spontaneously and without reservation with both resident and commuter students. We have devised four plans of action to grant their wish, starting with room design. One of the aspects that we think is important in creating a space that promotes innovation and entrepreneurship is the room’s design. The design of the room dictates how people feel in certain spaces. The first step that we would take to ensure that the room is designed appropriately would be to survey students on what they need in this room. After getting a general idea of what students want out of the space, we would plan small group tours to get a sense of student’s responses and opinions. After gathering this information we could make modifications. Another aspect of room design is the cost of materials and the feasibility of making the space functional. We have a plan to reallocate unused resources in other rooms of the school and put them to better use in the space we decide upon. This would decrease the cost of this project and increase the use of our school’s assets. To maintain a functional room design, we would continue to survey students each semester or year to reassess if our room is still meeting the needs of the current students.

Strategy 1: Alumni Presentation Program (2020 Fellows)

Alumni Presentation Program: We believe that this project would be the most important to Fordham's environment. If we were able to host this event in the Spring Semester, we could really strike engaging discussion with past alumni that students can connect with. If students were provided a platform for students to network with, we are certain that they can open up and see how they can formulate their success. Industry insights are huge today. If students have access to these insights, it can help them find their focus.

In order to make this project come alive, we would discuss with Alumni Directors, Alumni, the Deans, and Faculty in order to gather resources to contact alumni, plan the speaker series for the year, and finally promote it to the students around campus. It may be hard to initially reach out to alumni and create virtual programs with them, however, we can definitely put together a week series with different speakers from different industries.

Strategy 2: Interclass Competitions (2020 Fellows)

Interclass Competitions: This would be a great idea to work throughout since it could help students work with their classmates, increase participation, and most importantly engagement rates. Engagement is at an all time low currently. Many people might think that this is because of Covid-19, however this low engagement started happening even before it. Attention span of the average human is decreasing exponentially every year and school must adapt to that.

Since we'd like to focus on marketing and finance competitions, we would definitely have to contact the finance and marketing professors around campus. In addition to this, it would be essential to contact the dean of each class in order to propose these competitions and the best way to execute them. It may be hard to set up the competition, but we can partner with professors and their departments to come up with engaging programs.

Strategy 3: Professional Research & Development Program (2020 Fellows)

Professional Research & Development Program: This program would help students develop their personal goals and knowledge by researching their potential major/concentration. This would allow them to work hands on with things they love. This program would occur throughout the whole semester. The research would be assigned in the beginning of the semester and the final presentation would be due during finals.

We would try hard to work closely with the Research Council at Fordham, the Dean of Research, and any Faculty members within the industries of interest.

Strategy 1: Ideate Day (2019 Fellows)

Ideate Day: We identified this idea to be our top priority, After discussing as a team, we determined that being allowed the time and space to ideate and collaborate with peers is an enriching experience applicable in any course. We figured that courses at Fordham that assign a group or individual projects will benefit from a day when students can collaborate with their peers to come up with ideas, prototype and gain feedback.

To make this project a reality, we would need to contact the appropriate Deans (specifically Dean Marisa Villani) and University Provost and provide them with a strong argument as to why an ideate day would prove beneficial for students and professors alike. The next step would be to speak directly to students to evaluate whether our peers believe that an ideate day would add value to their educational experience.

Logistically speaking, persuading professors to allow time to ideate can prove difficult, especially with educators who are disinclined to modify their syllabi and lesson schedule for such an activity. The goal is to have an ideate day be incorporated in select courses to aid students in their brainstorming stage of their projects resulting in higher quality deliverables. Once professors notice an improvement in the quality of work students have produced, they will see the value in having a day to ideate.

Strategy 2:Cross-Discipline Innovators Program (2019 Fellows) 

Cross-Discipline Innovators Program: We have identified the Cross-Discipline Innovators Program as our second priority. This program will draw from all areas of study and assist students in exploring the cutting edge of their field by exposing them to the work of innovators within their discipline and teaching them how they can follow this path.

This semester-long program is designed for students who have already selected a major/field and requires students to research innovators within this discipline. In weekly meetings, they will engage in a thorough study of the field’s most recent developments and come to a better understanding of the challenges that are currently at play in this discipline. After familiarizing themselves with the ways in which innovators are working within their field and the ways the field is changing, students will learn innovation and entrepreneurship strategies. They will use these strategies (such as design thinking and rapid prototyping) to generate and flesh out an innovative/entrepreneurial idea over the remaining time in the semester. The two main deliverables are an analysis of innovation currently happening in the field and a prototype/report on an innovative idea that the

This program is designed to expand the definition of innovation and entrepreneurship held by many students by showing that there is innovation happening in every field. By broadening these horizons, students can be alerted to potential career paths that they may not have previously considered and develop new skills that they may not have previously worked on. The project-based model will allow students to immediately put what they learned into action and develop their ideation and prototyping skills.

Strategy 3: Entrepreneurship Podcast (2019 Fellows) 

Entrepreneurship Podcast: This project is our third priority beneficial because it truly caters towards our target audience: busy entrepreneurial students and students who are curious but too shy to fully commit to participating in I&E conventions. Furthermore, we found the control that we have over this project really appealing. It requires little funding and its implementation does not depend entirely on efforts made by stakeholders. That being said, our goal is, of course, to have their support as it will allow our project to be successful. While our ultimate goal will be to make a change in the way Fordham teaches entrepreneurship: this project, which is attainable and straightforward, will allow us to grow the community of entrepreneurs making it easier and more attractive to implement more courses related to I&E.

The podcast could host a guest and post an episode every month. The leadership circle would operate quite independently at first and be in charge of finding interested people, curating a list of questions, and hosting the episodes. As we gain traction and popularity, we could form an official club and recruit interested volunteers to continue creating podcast content and organize bi-annual events where students can physically come together and discuss topics related to I&E.

Finally, this project could be fully integrated within the university by partnering with the college career advisors that could help us find professionals to come and talk on the show. While also using our platform to advertise entrepreneurship and innovation internships and positions.  

Strategy 4: Venture Network (2019 Fellows) 

Venture Network: We have identified the Venture Network as our fourth strategic priority because we feel that it may not have as much of an impact on students as some of the other strategic priorities will. Also, it could be done in conjunction with other strategic priorities. The effect that this will have on students is that it will create a network of Fordham students and faculty to make them more aware of the current entrepreneurial ventures that members of the Fordham community have created. Social media accounts will be created, and they are designated to inspire others, Gabelli or Fordham College alike, to become more entrepreneurial and create their start-ups. 

Currently, the Instagram account is already up and running, ready to share success stories. To make this happen officially, we will need to get approval from the Office of Student Affairs on campus. We would need to reach out to many students and faculty who currently run their businesses and interview them. The entire leadership circle would create the questions, schedule for these posts, and meetings at Fordham, and the tasks would be split up according to everyone’s schedules. Eventually, a club could be created where the accounts can all be run by passionate students, and possibly develop into a newsletter.

By reaching out to the Fordham community and connecting those who are passionate changemakers, it will inspire Fordham to connect with each other and become inspired to make more change. The goal is to connect the entrepreneurial community at Fordham further, and a social media network we feel would be a good start. 

Strategy 1: I & E Coalition (2018 Fellows) 

I & E Coalition: We have identified this idea to be our top priority, along with the App. After discussion, we have determined that this coalition has long-term potential and its impact has the possibility to reach the entire student body of Fordham. We also determined that it will take roughly a month to form this coalition but relies on the effort and mindset of the clubs in regards to its impact and effect.

The I & E Coalition would meet on a bi-monthly basis and consist of 1 or 2 e-board members from every I & E club/organization, 1 or 2 representatives from the United Student Government Budget Committee and 1 representative from the United Student Government Operations Committee. These meetings would be a platform for each club to discuss the problems they are facing, potential solutions for their solutions, and ways to collaborate.

In time, the coalition will increase the synergy between the different clubs and they will work together tomakemore significant difference. Change like increasing the resources at our second campus, creating events together, gaining more involvement by marketing the clubs as a whole, teaching Design Thinking workshops, creating new classes and much more! We truly believe if this is successful, Fordham as a whole will be on a much better path with an innovative future.

Strategy 2: App (2018 Fellows)

App: We have also identified the App as a top priority as well as the I&E Coalition. After our discussion, we came to the final conclusion that an app has the potential to impact every Fordham student if they all use the app, but it would take a while to build and work out the bugs. We estimate it could take up to a year to get the app up and running, but the timeline is not clear as of now due to the fact that the Foundry, the entrepreneurial hub on campus, has created apps and could possibly help us achieve it sooner.

In order to bring this project to life, we would need to connect with people who have the ability to code andhaveappropriatesoftware. The next step in the process is to speak with the Foundry about the help they may be able to provide and how many people would need to be involved in creating the app. Specifically, I would like to speak with Sean Johnson, an entrepreneur in residence who helped with the creation of another app over the course of this past summer. In addition, I intend to call upon students who have created apps in the past like a colleague named Joseph VanGostein.

In terms of logistics, not only would we need to create the interface that is user-friendly manner (and none of us know how to code!), but we would also need to market it correctly to clubs. While we have gotten positive feedback as of now from clubs, making sure the platform would be used by all the organizations would be an important part of ensuring that it does fix the communication problem.

I&E Club Showcase (2018 Fellows)

Showcase: Our third priority is currently the Innovation and Entrepreneurship showcase. It has the potential to inform students of the clubs available but we worry about the possibility that it might not gain traction. The ability to coordinate this many clubs to each join our mission and produce something outside their norms is also a perspective issue.

To make this a reality we would need to establish a close relationship with a variety of the clubs offered at Fordham. After this, we would need to get together and find a similar format to which they would all agree to participate in this. The responsibility of finding and/or funding a guest speaker would also be on the UIF team and we would most likely start with the Alumni foundation as well as speaking with Christine Jansen among other professors that are involved in this field to see if they are willing to utilize their connections.

Logistically speaking, it might be a challenge to establish a day in which so many variables would be willing to meet t the same time. For the Rose Hill campus, there are many spaces that serve as options to host such an event, as the campus is quite large both inside and out. As for the Lincoln Center campus, the options are significantly smaller and we would have to coordinate with multiple advisors and faculty to see which spaces we have the ability to reserve and the process to secure it.

Design Thinking Workshop (2018 Fellows)

Workshop: Our fourth priority would be the design thinking workshop in the freshmen Intro to Business classes (The Ground Floor class). Because this solution would only have the potential to impact the freshmen class, we did not think it should be a top priority. Moreover, because freshmen take this class during their first semester at Fordham, we would not be able to actually begin conducting workshops tillFall of 2019.

The key tactics to bring this workshop to life would be getting approval from the administrators overseeing the curriculum of the Ground Floor, and figuring out the logistics of who will conduct the workshop during which days and class times.

Another key tactic would be to train volunteers (perhaps students who passionate about I&E or are participants in I&E resources such as clubs) to teach and moderate these workshops in order to scale this workshop to all Ground Floor classes. Caterina would be in charge of bringing this project to life.

Related Links

Fordham University

2019 Fellows

Giana Barko

Alia Benabdeljalil

Gerald De La Cruz 

Brittany Gesell

Student Entreprenuerial Workshop At Fordham

2018 Fellows

Caterina Carra

Darr Fuchs

Julia Butler

Teddy Stratis

Related links