Look there, in the Ott Auditorium! Is it a bird? Is it a plane?
No, it’s the B.A.T. men and women!
While these are not your comical costumed superheroes, they are, in fact, groups of students collaborating to enhance community development.
Composed of business, art and theater (B.A.T.) students, teams are working together to create “cool city” concepts.
Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm originally introduced the “cool cities” concept in 2003 to retain and attract more people to Michigan cities.
The idea behind it is relevant to collaborative challenges students will face in their careers according to program liaison and coordinator, Wanda Bowrin.
“In businesses today, they have a lot of cross-functioning approaches being adopted,” Bowrin said. “It’s important for students to be proficient in their own fields, but they have to work well with others, too.”
The project was conceptualized by three University professors: Joseph Ofori-Dankwa, Harvey Randall, Wickes endowed chair in international business; Mike Mosher, professor in art; communication and digital media and David Rzeszutek, assistant professor of theater.
Students in the teams have worked all semester on their cool cities in their undergraduate courses such as organization and administration, community mural painting and intermediate acting.
Each team is composed of approximately eight business students, two art students and two theater students.
Teams will present the concepts in the Alan Ott Auditorium at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 19.
Business students will pitch a four- to five-minute formal presentation on the strategies for developing local communities.
Theater students will perform four to five minutes linking strategies for community enhancement.
Art students will create a mural background synthesizing the presentation and performance.
Teams are not only judged on the presentation, performance and mural, but also they are judged on marketing, audience participation and the strength of the strategies for improving the community.
Judges are community members from communication and industrial fields.
Colleen Foley, a marketing junior on the team Blue Barracudas, said the project taught her to work outside her comfort zone.
“I think we’re doing a lot and that we’re on top of our games,” she said. “We’ve been hitting our deadlines while some other groups barely had contact with others.”
The program also relies heavily on building communication skills.
“You have to have a lot of patience when working with other departments,” said art junior Crystal Porter.
“You have to make sure they know what’s going on at all times.”
Projects are being finalized by the teams, and a focus has been drawing attention for a larger audience at the concept displaying.
Creators hope the University will pick up on this introductory project and install as part of the curriculum.
Other universities, such as Butler University in Indiana and University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business have already adopted such curriculums.