Business students at App State step in and stock up for the High Country’s hungry

BOONE, N.C. — In June, about 58 pounds of food was collected and more than 10,000 pounds processed by members of Appalachian State University’s Enactus student club and students enrolled in a graduate-level Executive Skills course in the university’s Walker College of Business (WCOB).

The students were donating their time and energy to “A Simple Gesture,” a charitable arm of Boone’s Hunger and Health Coalition (HHC) dedicated to eradicating hunger in the High Country.

“About six families of four could eat for one week with the 42 fully stocked bags we gathered,” said Master of Business Administration (MBA) candidate and Enactus member Michelle Jeanniton-Garrett, from Indian Trail. Jeanniton-Garrett has been volunteering with the HHC since fall 2018.

Enactus members partnered with HHC as part of their focus on food insecurity in the community.

“Enactus Appalachian looks to inspire students to improve the world through entrepreneurial action,” said club president and MBA candidate Jackie Parrish, of Hickory. “At the moment, Enactus is focused on food insecurity in the High Country.

“While our organization continues to brainstorm entrepreneurial concepts to alleviate this issue, Michelle and I thought that there was no better partnership to make than with the Hunger and Health Coalition. This is how the Peacock Hall (home to the WCOB) Simple Gesture collection was born,” she added.

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Bags of food collected by students in the Walker College of Business are ready for delivery to the Hunger and Health Coalition as part of the A Simple Gesture program. Photo submitted

With the reduced number of students on campus during the summer, the club turned to the MBA class to ask for assistance in continuing its efforts. This also allowed for a service opportunity in fulfilling the social responsibility component of the course.

“Social responsibility is one of our core goals in the Walker College of Business MBA program,” said Ken White, professional development coordinator and instructor of the Executive Skills class. “The efforts of these students exemplify what we hope to inculcate in our graduates. I am very proud of the effort and those that will benefit from this activity.”

MBA candidate Eden Spencer, from Cary, said, “Social responsibility is important as an MBA student because we are the next generation of leaders. If we can bring our sustainable ideas into the workplace, we can have positive lasting impacts on the environment around us and encourage those who come after us to keep the sustainable initiatives going.”

“I honestly just enjoy giving back to any community I live in,” Jeanniton-Garrett said. “Volunteering is a rewarding feeling, especially when you know that is has a positive impact on the community. I also utilize their services and am so grateful for the resources it provides!”

“With the support of Mr. White and the MBA program’s Executive Skills course, Enactus was able to garner a large group of volunteers to help our efforts,” Parrish said. “At the end of collection day, the pride on the faces of my fellow MBA students was invaluable!”

About the Walker College of Business

The Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University delivers transformational educational experiences that prepare and inspire students to be ethical, innovative and engaged business leaders who positively impact our community, both locally and globally. The college places emphasis on international experiences, sustainable business practices, entrepreneurial programs and real-world applications with industry. Enrolling approximately 3,000 undergraduates in 10 majors and 175 graduate students in three master's programs, the Walker College is accredited by AACSB International – the premier global accrediting body for schools of business. Learn more at

About Appalachian State University

As the premier, public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

Business students at App State step in and stock up for the High Country’s hungry
Published: Jul 15, 2019 12:44pm