Nine Hillsdale College students will present on Monday their solutions to malnutrition in poorer areas of Michigan through community farming.
Two teams of four and five students will represent Hillsdale in THEProject, a collegiate project-management competition sponsored by the Western Michigan Project Management Institute.
Judges will score teams from seven Michigan universities on the quality of their presentation and solutions as well as their use of proper project-management techniques.
The top three teams earn cash prizes and teams can also win various other awards, including best presentation and most improved project.
Last year, a Hillsdale team placed first and won $5,000 — $1,000 for each team member — and $5,000 for Hillsdale College. This is the fourth year Hillsdale has competed.
“Our teams have brought something home every year so far,” Assistant Professor of Management Douglas Johnson said. “I don’t know if that will remain true this year or not.”
With the $5,000 that Hillsdale won at last year’s competition, Johnson is trying to form a program that would allow students to complete internships in project management over the summer months.
“Students could get their certification in project management as a part of that course,” Johnson said. “And that’s always an option for anybody that actually participates in the normal project competition, too.”
Two years ago, one Hillsdale team won an award for the quality of its presentation and the other team won an award for improvement over the course of the project. Each student came home with $100.
Participating students have enrolled in a class with Johnson this semester and arrived to campus a week before the semester started to begin work.
“We bring people back for a boot camp, and they begin work on the project,” Johnson said. “Then they have a series of milestones leading up to the actual presentation.”
The class is a three-credit 400-level class.
“It takes a lot of work,” Johnson said. “They end up probably working harder than normal for a three-credit class.”
The entire process gives students invaluable experience in management, he said.
“It’s an excellent way of learning what it’s like to actually work on a project,” Johnson said. “They learn about the formal methods of project management.”
The competition will take place at the Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville near Grand Rapids.