Educating Students on Supporting Local Businesses Throughout Boston
Professor Erin DeCurtis is no stranger to first-year students at Simmons College. She currently teaches MGMT 100, “Foundations of Business and Management,” a requirement for all undergraduate management majors. "I really enjoy working with first-year students because they’re in a really intense time of identity development and I can vividly remember when I was in my first year of my undergraduate degree. Personally, I find it really rewarding to help students through what can be a challenging time,” she admits.
DeCurtis is now teaching a new course that is part of the academic curriculum for first-year students: PLAN: Purpose, Leadership, Action. Courses under this new curriculum teach students about a specific topic related to Boston and are said to promote students’ interactions within the city of Boston. Themes range from news, fine arts, astronomy, and more. DeCurtis’ course, “Support Your Local Business,” deals with a topic she is passionate about - the significance of small businesses in Boston to sustainable economic growth.
DeCurtis hopes to instill that passion in her first-year students. “I was drawn to create this course because I’m really curious about the topic of how to create long-term, equitable and sustainable economic growth in local areas,” says DeCurtis. “There are a lot of ways our shopping behavior can act as a ‘vote’ for how specific businesses work. I want students to start to think about the power they have as consumers.”
DeCurtis assigns homework that requires her students to visit multiple local business districts around Boston, including Chinatown, the North End, and Charlestown. She encourages her class to learn about the demographic details in different parts of the city. In addition, she teaches them how to evaluate whether it would be possible for residents of that neighborhood to get their basic needs met by either buying from only locally-owned businesses or buying only locally-made products.
First-year School of Management students can learn more about this course by reaching out to Professor DeCurtis via email.