Tepper prides itself on offering its students a holistic business education, one that is at the forefront of innovation. I am lucky to attend a school that intertwines aspects of business, technology, and society into its analytical approach to problem solving. As I wrap up my third year, I look back at how this teaching philosophy has influenced and informed my perspective.
This past semester, I took a course called Understanding Cultural Complexities: Service Learning or Poverty Tourism? Exploring Pedagogy and Privilege in International Contexts, through which we analyzed short-term trips to the developing world. These trips have rapidly grown in popularity over the past decade, with college students as the predominant population going abroad to serve a variety of different causes. While there is an abundance of such projects, the inequities in our society worldwide continue to grow. Throughout the course, Professor Tardio engaged us in discussions surrounding the ethics behind such service trips to the developing world. These questions, while did not have simple answers, challenged my own understanding of what service is and forced me to critically think about my own status in society and the responsibility I may have to others in impoverished areas.
Though I have been involved in volunteer work throughout my childhood and continue to participate in such initiatives today, Professor Tardio’s class forced me to be more thoughtful in my philanthropic efforts. As a business student, I found the course to be an invaluable addition to my course load as it complemented the technical skills I gain in Tepper classes by challenging the methodologies used to assess and remedy the widening gap of inequality around the globe. Most importantly, the course forced us to repeatedly ask ourselves: “What is our role as global citizens in the face of extreme poverty, climate change, and structural inequality?”
For me personally, despite having an extensive history of community service efforts, I realize now that I have only begun to tap into and explore the realm of possibilities in terms of addressing these global challenges. As a business student, I plan on carrying these lessons forward with me into my career as I work to make meaningful contributions to both the industry and society.