Wells Fargo Gives $20,000 for Financial Literacy

Money and Marketing Smarts

Through CommUniverCity’s Money Matters and Marketing Smarts programs, SJSU business students have helped three micro-entrepreneurs who own a cleaning business, a taco stand and a daycare (Bobbi Makani photo).

Wells Fargo has made a $20,000 gift in support of CommUniverCity’s Money Matters and Marketing Smarts programs.

Through these initiatives, more than 300 San Jose State students have conducted financial and tax literacy workshops for 1,300 Central San Jose residents of all ages over the past seven years.

SJSU students teach the curriculum in English and Spanish, the main languages spoken in the community.

Nearly 60 percent of Central San Jose residents speak a language other than English at home, and 68 percent earn less than the $84,000 required in Santa Clara County to meet basic needs.

Money and Marketing Smarts

Youngsters create coin banks as part of CommUniverCity’s Money Matters and Marketing Smarts programs (Viridiana Cisneros photo).

Under the direction of professors Bobbi Makani and Marilyn Easter, SJSU business students have also provided marketing consulting services to three women micro-entrepreneurs who own a cleaning business, a taco stand and a daycare.

The marketing and decision sciences students gain hands-on experience and the business owners receive research otherwise inaccessible to them due to time constraints and language barriers.

The effort has one more important fringe benefit. Students met with the entrepreneurs in the field and at San Jose State.

“That’s a place I never thought someone like me would ever get a chance to set foot in,” said one of the businesswomen.

CommUniverCity San Jose engages residents and students in service-learning projects focusing on neighborhood-driven goals through a cross-sector partnership with the City of San Jose, the residents of Central San Jose neighborhoods, and SJSU students.

Professor of Urban and Regional Planning Dayana Salazar serves as executive director.

Students and Small Business: Learning Together

Business Students Help Micro Entrepreneurs Succeed

Of the five micro entrepreneurs who presented their product or service in class, the students chose three: a cleaning business, a taco stand and a daycare (Jessica Olthuf photo).

This semester, the BUS2 134B Integrated Marketing Communications class within the College of Business will take a new approach to learning by serving as consultants to small businesses in neighborhoods near campus.

“Our students will work with real businesses and real individuals with real issues when it comes to their area of expertise,” said Professor of Marketing and Decision Sciences Marilyn Easter.

The three-unit capstone course focuses on using effective communications marketing solutions to a targeted audience, mainly through promotions.

The businesses are in or near neighborhoods served by CommUniverCity, a collaborative project of the Five Wounds/Brookwood Terrace communities east of campus, SJSU and the city of San Jose.

SJSU concentrates service-learning classes in these neighborhoods with the goal of building community and engaging students in civic life.

Business Students Help Micro Entrepreneurs Succeed

Throughout the semester, student consultants will work in teams to apply skills that they are learning in class to create the best marketing promotional plan (Jessica Olthuf photo).

Student consultants

Throughout the semester, student consultants will work in teams to apply skills they are learning in class to create marketing promotional plans.

Of the five micro entrepreneurs who presented their products or services to the class, the students, with guidance from professors and staff, chose three: a cleaning business, a taco stand and a daycare.

John Dance is one of 18 students in the class who will apply theory to practice.

“I’m learning what it takes to build a solid business plan,” Dance said. “I’m excited to acquire knowledge from the class.”

Building community

According to Easter, the goal of the pilot program is to create an ongoing project that allows micro entrepreneurs to work with SJSU students and to become part of the San Jose State community.

Already, the project has brought together a cross disciplinary team including several SJSU marketing instructors and students, local residents, CommUniverCity leaders and Catholic Charities staff members.

“It’s a fantastic relationship that everyone can benefit from,” Easter said.


Corporate Finance Major Interns in London

Corporate Finance Major Interns in London

Corporate Finance Major Interns in London

Thompson Global Internship Program participant Diane Leija, ’12 business administration, at the Parliament building in London (photo courtesy of Diane Leija).

Each morning, Diane Leija, ’12 business administration, walks 15 minutes from the Tower Bridge near London’s financial district to a train station, where she hitches a ride to the London borough of Enfield.

“[In London], everyone walks fast, so don’t be surprised to see people wearing walking shoes with slacks and business attire,” Leija said. “You literally hit the ground running when you get here.”

Leija is one of four students participating this winter in the Thompson Global Internship Program, designed to offer College of Business students the opportunity to live abroad while working on a project for Crown Worldwide Group, founded by alumnus Jim Thompson, ’62 aeronautical engineering.

This winter’s group brings to 43 the total number of students who have participated in this unique program since its inception in late 2009.

As a marketing research intern, Leija is applying her two-semester experience in the College of Business Gary J. Sbona Honors Program to complete research for Thompson Global entitled “Market and Competitive Analysis for the Records Management Industry.”

“I get to access the threats and strengths of competitors and look at the different angles of dissecting a company,” Leija said.

Besides learning to work in the real world with real companies that have real problems, Leija has appreciated working with people from different cultures and seeing how they interact.

“The world is in London. There are people form Africa, Asia and other parts of Europe,” Leija said. “If you think Silicon Valley is diverse, you should see this!”

The 13-day internship concludes next week, but Leija plans to extend her trip to visit Paris and Rome. She is a Hollister native and first-generation college graduate.

A business major with a concentration in corporate financial management, Leija also accepted a position at Ernst & Young and plans to pursue CPA certification this year.

Hackathon Offers Hands-On Experience

NFC Hackathon Offers Hands-On Experience

The event is a great opportunity to gain first-hand experience with emerging technology and to interact with industry professionals.

You’ve seen it on TV and maybe even tried it with your own phone. Now NFC is coming to SJSU.

The SJSU NFC Hackathon begins 1 p.m. Nov. 30 in the Student Union. Advance registration is preferred, though teams can enter at the event.

Entrants will be asked to develop NFC applications that could be used at San Jose State. They will also draft business plans.

NFC stands for Near Field Communication, and it’s a way to transfer info over radio waves using a cell phone.

If you tuned in to the World Series, you saw NFC in action during the commercial showing a couple swapping videos by tapping together their cell phones.

But there are many more ways to use NFC, including mobile payments and unlocking doors.

Like a QR code, NFC can even be used to get more info on a product or event from an ad or sign embedded with a special tag.

One key difference is NFC works off tech inside phones, while QR codes run off downloadable apps.

Four Gary J. Sbona Honors Program students are organizing the hackathon, providing them professional marketing experience.

The event is also a great opportunity for contestants to gain first-hand experience with emerging technology, and to interact with industry professionals.

In fact, the grand prize includes guaranteed interviews for paid internships during spring term at a Bay Area startup.

Partners include Motorola, Samsung, Bank of America and the Silicon Valley Center for Entrepreneurship.

The event will be hosted by Kovio, SJSU and the Sbona Honors Program. Learn more by visiting the hackathon website.

SJSU in the News: Kenyans Honor SJSU Professor as Elder

SJSU in the News: Kenyans Honor Professor for Preserving Their Oral History

Professor Fadiman in Meru

Professor Fadiman tours a recreated Ameru village in Kenya (photo courtesy of Jeff Fadiman).

Coastsider becomes an honored elder, Professor writes book recapturing a lost history

Originally posted by the Half Mon Bay Review Oct. 26, 2011

By Stacy Trevenon

Two years ago, a woman who Coastside professor Jeff Fadiman says he never met called from Atlanta to ask if he was “the “famous Jeff Fadiman.”

Fadiman politely responded that she had the name right, but he wasn’t famous.

The woman disagreed.

“She said, ‘You are famous,'” said Fadiman. “‘I’ve just come from the Meru and you are famous because of your book.”

Her mention of Fadiman’s writings about Meru history took the El Granada resident back more than 40 years. He is a 21-year San Jose State University professor of global marketing with emphasis on high-risk regions such as Africa. But back then, his efforts to preserve the oral tradition and history of a people whose history had been all but wiped out brought him gratitude, reverence and the title of “elder” from those people.

In 1969, Fadiman had lived on the slopes of Mount Kenya and had become interested in the Meru.

Their region had been conquered by the British in the early 20th century. The conquerors had indoctrinated their culture in place of that of the Meru. Their children, said Fadiman, had been forced into schools to learn British history, not their own. “Meru history and culture were denigrated as primitive and savage,” he said. “Every single thing had been lost.”

So Fadiman traveled to huts deep in the bush to seek out the oldest living members of the Meru and ask them to teach him the wisdom of their elders as they had been taught.

The oral traditions in the elders’ memories go back many generations, Fadiman said. “Each elder I talked to directed me to someone still older who had taught him,” he said.

Fadiman interviewed more than 100 elders in hundreds of meetings, and then set about organizing his information.

“My job was to take all the tales I had been told, sift them for the truth, and then weave them into a coherent narrative so that the Meru yet unborn could read and learn what it meant to be Meru,” he said.

What it “meant to be Meru,” he said, was to live as a warrior when young, connect with the “nkoma” or ancestral spirits as one aged and then pass through the tunnel that led from life to death.

Little moments showed him he was on the right track.

He said that an old man – one of many – told him that “God kept me alive so I can give you this information. Please write it so my grandchildren will know what it is to be Meru.”

Fadiman took his material back to the United States, wrote a dissertation, received his doctoral degree, became a history professor and moved on with life. In time he received Fulbright scholarships, and spoke more than once before the Commonwealth Club of California. He married and started a family.

But unseen factors were at work to bring that book and Fadiman back to Meru.

Kenya government official Kiraitu Murungi was in Washington D.C. and spotted Fadiman’s book in a bookstore. Then Meru journalist Titus Murithi, who writes for an English publication in Meru, seeking sources for his articles, contacted Fadiman – by coincidence, he said, on the same week the Atlanta woman had phoned.

The Minister of Education invited Fadiman to Meru to meet with the people whose history he had helped preserve.

So in August, Fadiman flew to the Kenya airport, then took a tiny bush plane to within an hour of Meru. It landed at the still-active safari camp of “Born Free” author George Adamson, and Fadiman made the last leg by car. The trip was arduous, but proved unforgettable.

On Aug. 21, Fadiman spoke to Meru leaders in labor, church, education and professions, at the Safari Hotel, the largest venue organizers could find. He spoke to a crowd of 400 in the morning and to 500 that afternoon.

He recounted the story of what happened four decades ago. Then, he said, he held up two of his books and “said in a voice of thunder, ‘You are their grandchildren. Here are the books. Have I not kept my word to your ancestors?'”

Their response was his answer. “I got a standing applause and ululation,” the resonant, particularly African sound, something like a cross between a cry and a whoop.

And that was not all. In a subsequent ceremony the minister of education proclaimed Fadiman the “father of Meru history” and made him a Meru elder by bestowing on him the “cloak of authority” and the “staff of authority.” Upon leaving Meru, Fadiman was “swarmed by laughing, dancing Meru men, women and children from the moment I got out of the car to the moment I left Meru.”

“I consider this the greatest honor of my life,” he said.

The celebrations included an impromptu, spontaneous few moments of delighted dancing, singing and laughter, with the minister of education. That resulted in an email from Fadiman’s driver, who had seen the impromptu cavorting on national television.

“I am so proud to be your driver,” the message ran, “because you could never have danced a step unless I drove you there.”

Limited copies of Fadiman’s book are available through Amazon.