Next Generation of Community Leaders Prepare at UAFS
Students enrolled in the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith’s College of Business and Industry, are not only working to become business leaders of the future but are also working to become the next generation of community leaders.
Dr. Kristin Tardif, associate professor of Organizational Leadership, is at the helm of one major initiative to build world-changers. In her community leadership class, Tardif empowers students to strategize ways to impact the Fort Smith and River Valley communities using their business acumen and leadership knowledge. At the end of the semester, the students bring their ideas to life.
From grant writing to community park improvements, this semester, students are working to make big improvements in the River Valley.
“This class helps get a better idea of the business world,” said Paola Fragalle, a senior business administration major. “We’re helping the community by applying the knowledge we’ve gained over the last four years.”
Paola’s team has created a strategic plan to provide a space for aspiring small business owners that is available to rent short-, or long-term at Fort Smith’s Bakery District. The team has worked directly with the property owners to find a way to not only generate revenue with the available space but to give back to the community they support.
Expanding into other communities are two teams, both working with the Ozark Free Will Baptist Church. At the center of either team’s work is the church’s food pantry and operations. One team is working to secure a grant to improve the infrastructure around the church and improve the food pantry distribution process. The other is taking a more modern approach to tackling food insecurities by helping the new pastor create a podcast to raise awareness.
“This isn’t a black-and-white class,” said Keaton Boyd, a senior business administration major. “This is a hands-on experience.”
The projects Tardif’s students work on year after year continue to help strengthen the relationship between UAFS and the community.
Another example of the work done in the class was recently featured in a story by KNWA/KFTA news highlighting the Chaffee Crossing Farmers and Artisans Market kickoff theme on May 13, 2023.
- College of Business and Industry
- Organizational Leadership