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Professor Ready’s Social Entrepreneurship Students Engage with Winona Mayor and Local Experts on the Cal Fremling

Cal Fremling attendees

Students and faculty creating their more on the Cal Fremling

Students in Professor Kathryn Ready’s Social Entrepreneurship class had an opportunity to learn from local experts aboard WSU’s floating classroom – the Cal Fremling. They enjoyed the beautiful Mississippi River scenery this past September. Mark Peterson, Winona’s mayor and former executive director of the Winona County Historical Society (WCHS) and Debbie Block, Director of Development at WSU, shared information with the class about earned income strategies and the value of partnerships in nonprofit organizations. Joining the class were College of Business Dean Hamid Akbari, WCHS Executive Director Genia Hesser and Warrior Innovate Challenge Program Director, Will Kitchen.

Social Entrepreneurship is a course in the College of Business that utilizes experiential learning to provide students with an overview of opportunities and challenges facing social entrepreneurs and their business ventures. Dr. Ready has made this course highly effective by linking it to the non-profit companies and organizations in Winona and beyond. In this class, Mayor Peterson shared information on the role of the board of directors in overseeing and supporting WCHS’s mission and involvement in fundraising and the growth of the WCHS through major capital campaigns and other earned income strategies. One important fundraising strategy has been their use of the Cal Fremling to provide opportunities for local community members to learn about many topics of interest, such as the history of Winona, while cruising the Mississippi. The WCHS developed this strategy by partnering with Winona State University (WSU) to raise funds and better serve the Winona community.

College of Business Creating Their More on the Cal Fremling

College of Business cruising along the Mississippi River on the Cal Fremling

Debbie Block shared information on the role of the WSU-Foundation in supporting WSU’s mission. Funding for the WSU-Foundation is obtained through support from alumni and partners (like WCHS) and benefits students in many ways including scholarships and networking opportunities. The Foundation’s financial support contributed to the purchase of the Cal Fremling, which provides a unique way that WSU students can learn outside the traditional classroom, as well as serving many other university and community needs.

Both speakers agreed that relationships and partnerships like this are important to a nonprofit’s success. Mayor Peterson added that the local government, like nonprofit organizations, is in need of volunteers to serve on local boards and committees, and students should consider getting involved.

This experiential learning activity on the Cal Fremling that helps COB students create their “more” was made possible by a grant from the WSU Foundation and the Department of Business Administration.

For more information, please contact:
Kathryn J. Ready, Ph.D.
Professor of Management

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