Southeast Missouri State University student publication

New class project encourages students to take action, be better

Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Graphic by Ally Bruemmer

Southeast’s Applied Ethical Leadership class is learning social responsibility through the “Do Better, Be Better” (DBBB) project this semester.

The DBBB project is a semester-long experiential learning project asking students to focus on social justice issues and the process of making positive social change.

Associate professor of Business Law Christine Ladwig teaches BA400 — Applied Ethical Leadership. She said she thought this project would help students fully grasp ethical leadership.

“Part of learning the aspects of ethical leadership is reaching out to others — reaching out to the community — and actually being involved in projects that focus on social justice issues and making a positive social change in your environment,” Ladwig said.

For this project, Ladwig said students can choose to work as individuals or in a group. A big part of the project is students being able to choose their topic and engage in a social issue that is meaningful to them.

“[The project] allows the students to choose something that they’re passionate about, where they’d like to initiate some change on campus or in the community — to work on a social issue,” Ladwig said. “You can assign all the research topics in the world and, yes, students may have an interest in it. But they’re not going to have a passion for it like they would a project that’s going to actually give them an opportunity to engage in some action and engage in some real change.”

This semester’s projects include: transportation issues on campus, raising awareness for the Redhawk Food Pantry, disability awareness, ethical issues in social media, a book drive for the Boys and Girls Club, raising awareness for ocean pollution and collecting shoes for the Career Closet on campus.

Ladwig said she checks-in periodically with her class to see where students are in their projects, and they had a midterm report where they presented their progress and any obstacles they have faced to the class.

Learning to work through these obstacles, Ladwig said, is another key component to the project.

“When you’re involved in a project like this, there’s the potential for limitations and it’s about how you work around those obstacles or incorporate those obstacles into your plan of action,” Ladwig said.

Southeast senior Johanna Oster was a part of the disability awareness group. For their project, the group hosted a presentation with Southeast senior Kayla Patek and Counseling and Disability Services.

Oster said the project “really opened her eyes” to things she had never noticed, such as poor lighting around campus.

Ladwig first learned about the project over the summer when Associate Professor of the Practice in Business Law at Boston College and the creator of the DBBB project, Rachel Spooner, submitted a journal entry about the project to the ‘Journal of Business Law and Ethics Pedagogy,’ for which Ladwig is an editor.

She said she saw this project as an opportunity to incorporate more experiential learning into the curriculum, something the College of Business has emphasized.

“There’s in-class learning that’s important, where you’re understanding the theories and principles,” Ladwig said. “Then there’s experiential learning, where you’re actively going out and engaging and you’re applying these practical skills, either in the workplace or in the community.”

Ladwig said the students have taken to the project well and seem to be enjoying it.

“[DBBB] gives them an opportunity to really see what it’s like to add value for others and to the community,” Ladwig said. “It’s a lot of work, and there’s a lot of obstacles to overcome, but [there are] incredible rewards in helping other people and adding value to their lives and it can increase the quality of your own life at the same time.”

Ladwig said she plans to continue the DBBB project for semesters to come, and those interested in the project should contact her at