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Community Engagement

The Real Estate Society

Greg Smersh created the Real Estate Society at USF, a student organization in the Muma College of Business that is open to all students at USF. The mission is to engage with the professional real estate community, and to promote the commercial real estate industry as an exciting and often-overlooked career option to students. There are monthly meetings along with many networking events (sponsored by professional real estate organizations) and corporate tours. The club offers non-traditional education (such as podcasts and short workshops), case competitions, and scholarships. It also helps students to be aware of internship and job opportunities.
The club has over 200 student members, and roughly 40 to 50 students show up for each meeting, along with up to a dozen professional guests.
The club was formed in fall of 2015 and has an advisory board with 12 members (see attached) who contribute $1,000 per year to support the club. The RES has connections with over 30 professional real estate firms in the Tampa area, and 8 professional real estate organizations (see attached). Activities just in the Spring 2018 semester include:

  • Urban Land Institute (ULI) enacted 10 student members in Young Leaders Group (YLG) Mentorship Program in January 2018
  • Real Estate Investment Council (REIC) sponsored 5 student attendees at networking events on third Wednesday of every month (4 events in Spring, 2018)
  • Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) Institute sponsored 5 student attendees at networking events on second Tuesday of every month (4 events in Spring, 2018)
  • Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) sponsored 2 students to attend their spring world conference in Austin, Texas from 4/11 - 4/14
  • National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) sponsored 10 students at Havana night in Hyde Park, 3/23
  • Society of Real Estate Professionals (SOREP) created scholarship opportunity for students interested in real estate, 3/31
  • Cushman and Wakefield hosted corporate tour for 12 students, 3/23
  • Corporate Real Estate Network (CoreNet) hosted Young Leader presentation & student outreach event, 3/27 and 4/13
  • Real Estate Society at USF (RES) sponsored inaugural case study scholarship ($4,000 to students) and social hour , 4/17
  • CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) hosted corporate tour for 12 students, 4/20

Connect with the Muma College of Business Real Estate Society

Habitat for Humanity Procurement

The USF Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) Students led by instructor Kerry Walsh were tasked with studying the Habitat for Humanity (HfH) and their current model of de-centralized purchasing behavior and analyzing whether a centralized or hybrid system would be more efficient and cost effective. Approximately 14 Florida business affiliates were studied in depth from a procurement perspective. The final results demonstrated that a Hybrid Model of procurement maximized HfH's cost reduction and therefore was the optimal strategy. These findings will be submitted for publication as a case study. The USF CSCMP is comprised of 10 student members and the project time line was 10 months.

Turning Points & the Case of Homelessness

In Spring 2015 the USF Muma College of Business was approached by Turning Points, a charitable organization in Bradenton, Florida. The organization helps approximately 10,000 people fight homelessness each year by providing services such as hot showers, laundry services, food, essential medical and dental services, and employment/placement services. With an annual budget of approximately $2 million, a part of which comes from the county, the organization was under pressure to demonstrate economic impact to sustain funding. The Muma College of Business, with the expertise and supervision from Balaji Padmanabhan, assembled a fully volunteer team of six students who worked with a professor over six months to put together an innovative design-centric valuation technique.

The approach used fine-grained data that Turning Points provided on all the services that were provided over a year, and brought in four different ideas into the impact analysis: (a) quantifying the value of the services provided based on market value, (b) quantifying cost-avoidance, by comparing costs of services provided with emergency room and hospitalization costs, (c) translating the increased quality of life of the individuals getting these services into economic impact because of their abilities to work better and (d) using a hedonic regression approach to investigate the value from increased property valuation that could arise from keeping homelessness low in the community.

Since the entire approach was developed as a decision-aid, this solution permitted natural what-if analyses by permitting the user to directly change parameters and assumptions and see the impact on valuation. Under certain cases this showed a potential impact of over $20 million dollars, making it easier for this organization to continue seeking the critical funding it needed to provide services to reduce homelessness in Florida. When this project was undertaken there was no approach of this kind that could be used by such charitable organizations, making the potential contribution even more significant.

There were six students who worked over six months (April – October 2015), entirely voluntarily, on this with Professor Balaji Padmanabhan.


Hurricane Donations

Hurricane Donations/Toy Drive for Puerto Rico

After hurricane Maria ravished the Island of Puerto Rico. The Muma College of Business family donated items, as well as monetary contributions, for needed emergency supplies to send to the people of Puerto Rico.

Monster Mash

Monster Mash at Shriners Children's Hospital

The Muma College of Business has had the opportunity to partner with Shriners and their event team to throw the best Monster Mash/Halloween party they have ever imagined. This is a time for all of the children and their whole family to come and participate in an ultimate dance party with other games, activities, a haunted walk and of course the candy table in "the Fish Bowl", Shriners activity center. The kids and some of the parents dress up in their costumes and dance the night away. It is a great time of community and fellowship with the children, staff and outside community.

Foster Angels

Foster Angels

The Muma College of Business has had the opportunity to gift Foster Children throughout the Hillsborough County area with gifts during the Holiday season to those who are in need. We have been participating with the Foster Angel program since before 2014 and each year. Every year of participation seems to have a better outcome with more than 25 Angels fulfilled last year alone.

School Supplies

Backpack & School Supply Drive for Hillsborough County Guardian Ad Litem Program

When a competition meets a need at the Muma College of Business there is a large response of generosity and team work. This year, 2018 was the first of many in the future that we partnered with the Voices for Children of Tampa Bay program to support the Hillsborough County Guardian Ad Litem program giving children in need a voice. Many of the children in the GAL program are in Foster Care due to an "unfit" situation in their households, therefore removed from what they know and put into an unfamiliar place where many get lost in the mix. The GAL program steps alongside these children and pairs them with a mentor and trained individual to walk alongside them and advocate for them in the judicial system for the best possible outcome. The Muma College of Business was able to provide 122 backpacks and 6,110 supplies, allowing these children to be prepared for the school year ahead. Our Staff and Faculty really took this to another level and made this a huge success for the GAL team. We will just say... they were not quite ready for the 2 packed SUVs and truck at the drop off. and


USF "Feed-A-Bull" Summer Food Drive

The Muma College of Business family donates food items, as well as monetary contributions to purchase food items, to help re-stock the much needed USF Feed-A-Bull pantry. The Feed-A-Bull food pantry is available to students enrolled on the USF Tampa campus. It was created to address food insecurity by providing supplemental food to students in need.