Student Organization Spotlight: Business Student Advisory Board (BSAB)

Adjusting to the “new normal” has been a journey for everyone at UIC Business this year. From attending classes to social events - we have done it all, virtually. The student organizations have risen to the challenge by creating virtual event opportunities and continuing their initiatives online to enhance the learning of UIC Business students. Learn about the journey of the Business Student Advisory Board from Bruna Tavares, President at BSAB and third-year UIC Business student, on the UIC Business blog. BSAB has been instrumental in addressing the needs of the students by creating projects to benefit all. They work closely with the Office of Dean to solve issues and make a positive impact on the business student community. 

What is the vision of BSAB & how did the journey start at UIC?
The Business Student Advisory Board has two main functions - Number one is to advise the college’s administration, faculty, and staff on what our student body needs; Number two is to act as the umbrella organization over all business student organizations, giving them the resources and support they need to succeed. What’s fun about BSAB is that our projects are never the same; there’s always a new challenge coming up that we get to do research on and see how it affects our students!

Congratulations on all your hard work for the UIC Business Week, tell us more about your experience organizing it and how different it was compared to the last year.
Thank you so much! It was definitely a learning experience for us this year. We had so many things planned before COVID-19 hit including an awesome welcome back event in Student Center East and a boat cruise, but we had to adjust to a virtual format to keep events safe and accessible. I think we had a lot of fun doing that and learning how to maximize the virtual tools we had to put together a virtual welcome back where Assistant Dean of Student Services Angela Prazza Winters gave the State of the College, a virtual service event where we taught students how to make masks for those in need, a virtual involvement fair, and a virtual game night! It was a lot of fun to see students from all over the world come together to kick off the school year, and we were happy to have the support from the College of Business Administration in putting everything together! There were around 100 students attending the event.

Tell us about the other events and services BSAB plans to organize this fall keeping in mind the present virtual scenario. 
Since most of our work is project-based, the only “events” we host are meetings with students or organizations that need support, and that’s easily done through virtual conferencing platforms. We work all semester to build reports on what students need and cultivating relationships with the faculty, staff, and administration to make things possible.

What are the takeaways for students despite the absence of in person events this year.
I think students should look at virtual events as an opportunity! Instead of having to take commuting and the weather into consideration when planning to attend things, you can do it from the comfort of your laptop. Take advantage of this time to network with student organizations and build relationships with your fellow classmates and professors. It’s amazing that we’re just an email/message away from connecting with people across the world, and students should definitely take advantage of that! Don’t forget to peel yourself away from your computer every once in a while though to get some rest.
 

Being the leader at BSAB in both the pre-COVID and during the COVID-19 era, tell us how your plans for the organization have changed over time?
I think our plans have shifted from opportunity creation to opportunity maximization. Before COVID-19, we were targeting projects that focused on creating more career opportunities for students, especially international students. Now, we’ve moved into identifying already-existing opportunities and working on marketing those to students. We’ve also moved from creating new resources to maximizing our already-existing resources. We’re trying to find new ways to fund student organizations and work to provide them with resources that already exist and teach them how to maximize it!

What is the highlight of your association with BSAB till now?
I think the highlight of my association with BSAB has been the opportunity to connect with students in BSAB and our general student body. I love talking to students and learning about everyone’s individual journeys and what has brought people to UIC. Overall, my goal is to leave UIC Business better than I found it, so being able to help students by creating more resources and opportunities for them is always the highlight for me. The resources that we support student organizations with are majorly requirement based. For example, we connect student organizations who would like to partner on initiatives/events based on research special topics related to careers, or connect them with alumni.
    
Lastly, how important do you think it is to be a part of a student organization at UIC?
I think it’s super important to be a part of a student organization at UIC, especially in the virtual world we’re in today! It’s easy to isolate yourself if you’re new to the UIC Business community, but take advantage of the opportunities you have with student organizations not only to advance and learn more about yourself but also to connect with other students - amazing friendships come out of student organizations, and so many opportunities arise as well, so take advantage of the time you have at UIC Business and get involved! If you need help finding an organization that fits you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at btavar2@uic.edu!

Thank you Bruna and the entire team at BSAB for your continued contributions to the UIC Business student community. If you are interested in joining BSAB or knowing more about the work they do, feel free to reach out to them at bsabuic@gmail.com