As the semester neared the end of April, third-year Commerce School students resolved a friendly two-semester-long battle in what’s become an annual tradition: vying for the McIntire Cup.
Throughout the academic year, the student groups and their eight blocks competed against each other, earning points through a series of Commerce Council events. While the good-natured block rivalry fosters community, lightens the mood, and enlivens the overall McIntire experience, Comm Council President Josh Fong (McIntire ’23) says that the competition does more than create a great deal of excitement and engagement: The resulting byproduct of students involved in contending for this year’s McIntire Cup also did a lot of good for many others beyond Grounds.
“Thanks to our new Volunteering & Community Engagement Committee, we were able to combine aspects of this competition with broader community service initiatives. As a result, our eight blocks collectively made an incredible impact on Charlottesville, all while building stronger relationships with each other and the Commerce community as a whole,” says Fong.
One such wildly successful initiative worked into the competition also served as a factor in determining the McIntire Cup’s victorious block: the McIntire food drive.
Competition for the Common Good
Nellie Philpott (McIntire ’23), Treasurer and Chair of the Volunteering & Community Engagement Committee of Comm Council, explains that the committee was determined to promote a culture of service within the School through campaigns held during multiple times throughout the year.
“Historically, many of the McIntire Cup points have come from engagement in Comm Council events such as participating in the Halloween costume competition, attending fireside chats, or playing in the Annual Kickball Tournament,” she says. Though that type of feel-good programming that councils had established in years past still contributes to the overall point-tallying in the McIntire Cup, as it plays a vital role in building culture within the School, volunteering was given significant weight in the competition this year. Philpott says that the service-related activities provided additional emphasis about the importance of giving back.
“In the fall, ahead of the winter season, we collected over 2,000 pairs of socks across the School for The Haven and The Salvation Army,” Philpott says, pointing out that in collecting more socks, they allowed fourth-years to contribute to their third-year blocks.
On the Day of Volunteering, which was co-sponsored by McIntire Student Services and the staff advisory group, in early December, she notes that 100 students joined Comm School faculty and staff to contribute 302 service hours working with three community partners: the Jefferson Area Board for Aging, Autism Sanctuary, and Camp Holiday Trails.
And partnering with the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank this spring, McIntire students led a food drive that ultimately filled the shelves of the organization responsible for providing nutritious meals to people in need across 25 counties and eight cities in Central and Western Virginia.
“In addition to our internal estimations of over $3,000 collected in food equivalent, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank informed us that we collected 995 pounds of food, reporting ‘that will help to provide roughly 829 meals for members of our community. We are so grateful for the McIntire School of Commerce’s generosity,’” Philpott says.
While Block 7 took first place in collecting food for the drive, with Block 2 earning second, it was Block 2 that would ultimately take the top spot to win the McIntire Cup; Blocks 8 and 3 earned second and third place, respectively.
Meaningful for Many
Block 2 representative Demond Morris (McIntire ’24) says that though overcoming issues like transportation limitations and making strategic choices in food purchases proved challenging, it was gratifying to learn how much of a difference he and teammates were making by taking part in the food drive. “Not only were we able to compete, but we were able to have a true impact on the community. My Block does work to embody the motto of ‘Commerce for the Common Good,’” he says.
David Aodu (McIntire ’24), who represents Block 7, agrees: “The food drive competition demonstrated that commerce can be a powerful force for good and make a positive impact in the community.”
Another highlight of the McIntire Cup experience for Aodu came from working closely with his classmates.
“It was inspiring to see everyone come together and work towards a common goal with such enthusiasm and dedication,” he says. “As we worked together to promote the donation drive and collect items, we were able to build strong relationships and support each other throughout the process. Seeing the team spirit and camaraderie among my classmates was incredibly rewarding, and it made me feel proud to be a part of such a supportive and motivated group of students.”
In contesting for the McIntire Cup—an actual trophy that remains on display in the second-floor hallway of Rouss & Robertson Halls—Aodu found that in order to make significant contributions, the students collaborated in ways that put their business abilities to the test.
“We learned how to communicate effectively, delegate tasks, and leverage our individual strengths to accomplish a shared objective,” he says. “By applying the skills we learned in the classroom to real-world challenges, we can make a meaningful difference in the world around us.”