Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Party Hosted by the Best Student Chapter and Africa Goal

The end of the academic year is always filled with numerous celebrations-- from parties to banquets to graduations. It is a time to revel in our students' accomplishments and the achievement of their goals.

This past week, we hosted an end of the semester party, which coincided (unplanned) with a huge wind and rain storm, which knocked down trees (but, luckily, the Isenberg School of Management, which was the indoor site for our party did not lose power). The party was hosted by the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter.

The party featured international cuisines from Turkey, Ukraine, China, Japan, the US, Iran, and other countries, and, amazingly, the food tasted really good together!

At the party, I had the chance to recognize the outstanding chapter officers for their excellent service throughout the year, which includes hosting our terrific Speaker Series in Operations Research / Management Sciences.

Attendance at the party was great with students, both undergrad and graduate ones, coming not only from the Isenberg School but also from Computer Science and Engineering (and they marched through the storm to get there). Faculty also came out to support the students and to celebrate the end of classes.

Today is Mother's Day and I can't say enough about our wonderful students -- they show up when it matters, work very hard together with terrific esprit de corps, and the friendships continue after they graduate. Plus, our students are very entrepreneurial. For example, during the party, I spoke with one of the undergrads, who was born in Kenya, but is of Polish and Swiss descent. One of his majors is Operations Management. I asked him what he was doing this summer. He told me that he, with several others, was able to obtain funding from the Bill Clinton Foundation, so Africa Goal is on! This is truly an amazing initiative, which will bring viewing of World Cup soccer games to villagers in eastern Africa, combined with AIDS and HIV awareness education. You may find out more about Africa Goal here and even view the route that the group will take, combining the love of sports with health education!