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ASCC biz students travel to gain insight

American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Business Department Chairperson Dr. Faofua Fa’atoafe and seven of her students departed this week for the Independent State of Samoa to spend ten days touring factories and businesses big and small in Upolu and Savai’i, as well as to visit the University of the South Pacific (USP).

“The students will keep to a busy schedule of visiting various factories to gain firsthand insight on how various goods are produced, observe the packaging processes, and build an awareness of how different channels of distribution are used to market the goods to customers,” said Dr. Fa’atoafe.

Upolu factories and businesses the ASCC students are confirmed to visit include Mailelagi Soap; Supreme Ice Cream; Natural Foods and Samco Chips; Le Vai Factory; Yasaki Factory; Tafaoata Chips; Samoa Brewery; and the Scientific Research Organization of Samoa, a new business producing pure oil from avocado and coconut.

“The students will spend at least two hours in each factory,” the course instructor said, “and some factories do allow visitors to actually assist in the production of their products.”

In Savai’i, the ASCC group will visit Swim with the Turtle, a family-owned business, as well as another family venture, which produces wood carvings.

At the Alafua campus of USP, where Samoa students can earn Bachelor and Master degrees in Business Management, each of the ASCC visitors will sit in on three different classes.

Dr. Fa’atoafe said that the seven participating ASCC students have covered their expenses through a series of fundraising activities beginning last semester, such as on-campus bake sales, a walk-a-thon, sales of plate lunches, and solicitation letters to sponsors.

The seven students are enrolled in the course MKT 212 – Marketing and Management Practicum. One of the main components of the class is for the students to directly observe how various goods or products are produced, and gain firsthand experience with the packaging processes and the channels of distribution.

Dr. Fa’atoafe shared that the trip will meet at least one of the National Standards for Business Education. This set of standards emphasizes the prominent role business educators play in preparing students to become responsible citizens, capable of making astute economic decisions in their personal and professional lives. She has also incorporated the Student Learning Outcomes and Program Learning Outcomes of MKT 212 into the planning of the trip.

As the trip progresses, each student will continuously gather his/her insights into a collection to be preserved on CD. “They’re required to attend the hour and a half reflection session after each day’s site visit,” said Dr. Fa’atoafe.  “This gives them the opportunity to outline what they have learned and later put together their learning experiences into a CD. This CD must be fully completed before we return home, and they will turn it in to me to count it towards their final grades for the course.”

As she attended to the numerous last-minute details that come with any trip involving a group, Dr. Fa’atoafe expressed her thanks to the ASCC administration, faculty, staff and students for their support, and also to the community sponsors who have given generously.

“To make our students strong business leaders for the future,” she reflected, “they need a firm grasp of the bigger business picture in their own region, but beyond the shores of their own home. Our sponsors know that trips like this give them the opportunity to gain this perspective.”