How do corporations dedicate their time to the communities around them? How do they decide on corporate social responsibility objectives and then measure their success in these areas?
These were a few of the questions examined by a group of 17 students from the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis Undergraduate Program during their spring break study abroad program to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“Our class was all about understanding the role that organizations can take in addressing issues in society,” said Emily Murphy, lecturer in business communications and the faculty advisor for the trip. “Argentina has a very unique economic and political history, so in addition to studying the evolution of CSR in the US, we also studied the past 40 years in Argentina’s history and examined how that and the current economic reality shapes its people and their lives.”
The class spent eight days meeting with organizations, building a rain water collection system for a local school with Agua Segura, and participating in cultural activities such as learning the tango and a traditional barbecue known as an asado.
“The study abroad trip to Argentina was one of the best experiences of my collegiate career,” said Nidhi Ramanathan, BS’20.
“In the midst of this bustling city, my classmates and I got to connect with different kinds of organizations and learn about their businesses. It was interesting to learn about how some dedicate their time to serving society while others focus on their customers’ needs to ensure a sustainable business.”
After their time together, the students felt connected to one another and to the city of Buenos Aires. Upon their return and reflection, they decided to donate to Modulo Sanitario, a non-government organization that assembles and installs working plumbing in impoverished communities through Argentina. During the trip, the organization met with the students and shared more about its mission to change lives in extreme poverty.
“All in all, they’re an amazing company with life-changing goals and we saw the opportunity to help. We decided as a group that it would be a good cause to contribute to and a small token of our appreciation for the lives they’re improving in Argentina,” said Frank Wintin, BS’19.
Each group member contributed, bringing the donation to 13,000 pesos, or $300 dollars.
The beauty of the city, along with the memories made, created a valuable learning experience for all.
“The warmth and generosity of spirit was contagious; I think I can speak for everyone in the class when I say that by the end of the week, we all felt inspired to be kinder, better versions of ourselves,” said Murphy.