Student Storyteller: Habitat for Humanity, a learning partner

To learn how to run an organization you have to study best practices and strategies, but in our business class, we are gaining life experience by seeing how people work together in a local nonprofit organization.

My “Dynamics in Organizations” class has partnered with Habitat for Humanity in Forsyth County to learn how to develop and run a successful organization. Our mission has been to build an organization (our class) to establish culture, structure and goals to help Habitat for Humanity achieve their mission.

Max Denker

Habitat for Humanity has had a long-time goal of working with people everywhere to help develop communities for families in need by building homes and collecting donations. Our class organization is collecting monetary and material donations for Habitat ReStore. Habitat’s ReStore resale outlets sell reusable and surplus building materials to the public to help fund their community improvement work.

On December 3, we will collect these donations, work in the ReStore and participate in construction of a new home. Our class created an organizational structure to efficiently collect donations. We are made up of a general manager and three team leaders with teams responsible for collecting donations from off-campus housing, on-campus housing and businesses. Each team consists of 10 students. The goal established for each group is to collect 18 donations, either financial or material objects, by this Saturday.

Through this project the BEM 311 class has come together to form a cohesive culture with Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Rigorous, and Timely goals (SMART goals). We have effectively communicated to assign roles and develop norms for meetings, expectations and contributions.

The greatest personal gain from this project has been learning how to motivate people to participate in an activity that may not directly impact them (besides earning a letter grade). The team leaders came up with enticing incentives for productivity in raising donations and working hard at the construction sites. These rewards include choice of work on Saturday and donuts in the following class. From this experience I will be able to effectively get people to engage in team efforts, whether it is in school or in my future career.

To help us serve our community, please consider donating one or more of the targeted donations below to Habitat for Humanity. Financial donations are also welcome. On Saturday, Dec. 3, our class donations team will travel around Winston-Salem (and can stop by Wake Forest or your house nearby) to collect donations, so you do not have to hassle with getting the objects to the store. For any collections we are unable to pick up on Saturday Habitat will swing by for free at a time convenient for you. All donations are eligible for tax write offs.

  • Used (but not too old, like the 1960s) cabinets
  • Appliances (ten years old or less)
  • Nearly new building materials (such as windows and doors)
  • Household furniture
  • Financial donations of any amount

If you, your parents, or anyone else you know would like to donate to this noble and valuable cause, please email

Donations will be accepted after Saturday at Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County.

Categories: Community, For Alumni, For Parents, Pro Humanitate, Student, Top Stories