Experience First, the alternative to the typical University 401 class at Greenville University, is all about giving students an opportunity to have real-life experience for their senior capstone project. With there being seven groups, each group has four to six people in it. Though Danara Moore is the professor and overseer of the class, each group is assigned a different project to work on with a project partner and a project manager.
The project partner has the project set up for the group and guides the group typically via Skype calls on a regular basis. The project manager works with the group face to face. They often guide the group and make suggestions to what can be improved or done differently. A few of the different groups include a group working with Marcoot Creamery to help with their cosmetics and picnic tables at the site, a group working to design a new piece of Amish furniture to be built and sold, a group working to lay out business plans for a bed & breakfast in Greenville, a group working to give a band more publicity, and several more.
“If people are at all interested in working in business or starting their own business, Experience First can be a good experience,” said Kellie Steele, member of the bed & breakfast group. “I’ve learned that starting your own business is a lot harder than I originally realized.” In this particular group, the team has brainstormed ideas for different businesses that could thrive in Greenville. After coming to the conclusion that a bed & breakfast could be beneficial to the town of Greenville, people visiting the University, and anyone wanting a nice place to stay, the team began the research of what it took to start a bed & breakfast and start a business in general. Besides this, they looked into different properties and received estimates from a contractor.
Another group worked with the band, A Summer High. They did analytics, helped with social media, and even had the opportunity to go on tour with them for three shows. “Experience First has taught me how to take everything I have learned in the classroom and use it in a real-life setting,” one member of this group, Natty Hepburn said. “I have loved it because it develops skills and gets people ready for what they want to do in the world.”
Through Experience First students can learn how many different jobs work in the real world after college. They can see the frustrations, the work, and the time businesses, groups, and people go through to get to where they are and where they would like to be. Another member of the bed & breakfast group, Zachary Christensen said, “I learned first-hand some of the hands-on aspects of real-life business, along with others who are trying to accomplish the same goal.” If you are signed up for University 401 next semester and would like to be in Experience First, there is an application followed by interviews. For more information about applying or Experience First, you can contact Danara Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org