Newswise — ST. LOUIS – Book by book, box by box, a group of students in Alpha Kappa Epsilon, the International Business Club at Saint Louis University, slowly compiled a business library.
Now, five years and 10,000 books later, they are shipping this ready-made library to the Lahore University of Management Science (LUMS) in Pakistan. The pallets of books is scheduled to leave St. Louis in the coming weeks and should arrive in Karachi in July.
With the shipment, the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business students will become the first University in the United States to ship books as a part of the 39 Country Initiative. SLU’s shipment is also the first since prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project allows university faculty members in 39 countries with a per capita GDP of less than $2,000 a year to use Ivey Publishing’s digital catalog at no charge, while also joining the list for a physical shipment of books. Since the project’s founding in 2014, over 2,000 professors have registered for access.
The Initiative also aims to collect and ship large quantities of printed books, journals, and business case studies to higher education institutions in the 39 countries. Each shipment is comprised of approximately 10,000 individual items.
Hadi Alhorr, Ph.D., the Paul Lorenzini Professor of International Business in the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business, started the project at SLU.
“To me, this is a project which epitomizes what we stand for as a Jesuit university,” Alhorr said. “We are helping others through education.”
The project began in 2018 and was led by the Boeing Institute of International Business at the Chaifetz School of Business and the International Business Club.
The International Business Club works to provide SLU students with knowledge, networking and experience in the area of international business.
The group organized collections of new and gently-used textbooks and other business guides. They reached out to companies who regularly work with the Boeing Institute and on campus to fellow students, business school faculty members and their classmates.
Pius XII Memorial Library also donated books that it was pulling out of circulation.
As books came in, they were boxed and stored in SLU’s warehouse. When the pandemic hit and students left campus, the project slowed, but never stopped. Book collections continued throughout.
At the start of the 2022-23 school year, the club decided that this was the year to finish what they started.
Caleb Coyne, senior and president of the International Business Club, said it was something he wanted to see done before he left SLU.
“It felt very Jesuit and mission-focused to me,” he said. “This project has been passed on from earlier boards and I really wanted to get it across the finish line.”
Coyne and the other board members, including vice president Subah Shovik, marketing/events lead Veronica Lesak and secretary/treasurer Enrique Marzal Ruano, took it upon themselves to evaluate where the project stood.
“We knew we were close,” Coyne said. “We went back into the warehouse and recounted every book, making sure that the counts on all the boxes were correct.”
Once they realized they were nearing 10,000 books, the team accelerated collection efforts. They reached their goal in late March and began preparing the shipment.
Jill Newman, program manager in the Boeing Institute, used her experience in the shipping industry to assist the students. SLU’s warehouse, while perfect for storage, wasn’t suited to building the pallets of book boxes. The pallets needed to be built according to the shipping container specifications.
Adam Butler of Kuehne and Nagel came to speak to SLU students about supply chain and warehousing. He connected Newman with the local branch manager of NNR Global Logistics, Denita Hardge-Malone, who offered their warehouse in Maryland Heights as a location to build the pallets and house them until the shipping container arrived.
“The generous people at NNR wanted to work with us on this, and offered SLU their space and expertise,” Newman said. “They were critical in helping us finish this project.”
Students in the International Business Club learned not only the logistics of shipping 10,000 books halfway across the world; they also received lessons in customs as they waded through the extensive paperwork needed to accompany the donation.
“I can’t believe we did it,” Alhorr said. “This is why I’m at SLU – we educate service leaders and promote Jesuit values worldwide. This is an opportunity for us to open the doors of education to others and build connections between SLU and LUMS.”
Universities in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. have signed up to act as collection nodes for specific regions.
Since its founding, the 39 Country Initiative has made six shipments, all prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. They include:
- University of Dar es Salaam Business School, Tanzania; 2018
- University of Dar es Salaam Business School, Tanzania; 2017
- Riara University, Kenya; 2016
- Moi Universildoret, Kenya; 2015
- Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Ghana; 2015
- Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia; 2014
Canada and Australia are the only other countries to have made shipments. Michigan State University did contribute to a shipment; however, they did not send the books themselves.
About the Boeing Institute of International Business
Established in 1984, the Boeing Institute of International Business at Saint Louis University’s Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business offers a breadth of global business resources for students and alumni, as well as the business community, faculty, government and professional organizations. Offering many strategic initiatives focused on international business at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels, as well as events, professional programs, and a global research, The Boeing Institute of International Business continues to be among the top academic institutes for practice and education of international business.
About the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business
Founded in 1910, the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business at Saint Louis University has shaped the future of industry for more than a century. As one of the oldest business schools west of the Mississippi, the Chaifetz School has built a reputation as a leader in business education committed to innovation, inclusion and impact and recognized with eight undergraduate and graduate programs nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report.