Management students turn a pen into much more


Submitted to The Simpsonian

The team worlds greatest pen comprised of Cam Liston, Brady Held and Carter Berkey trade their pen for a golf club.

by Sophie Reese, Staff Reporter

One Simpson management class is turning a red pen into something bigger and better.

Professor John Walker decided to take an interesting approach to his Management-131 course project and assigned the Bigger and Better Game project.

Students were first split into groups. Each group is started off with a simple red pen and the task of trading that pen into something bigger and better. With each item they trade, they must trade again for something more valuable.

“I started them with one red pen, they’re in groups of three, and they have ten weeks to make ten trades,” Walker said. Walker also states what the goal is for the students participating in this project. “The goal is to advance their products to be bigger and better.”

This project is currently taking place over a 10-week time span to make ten trades. Students are in week three and have already begun trading items.

This project is based on a book called, One Red Paperclip, written by Kyle Macdonald, in which Macdonald starts with a red paperclip and ends up trading it into a house.

Walker stated that this could be a significant learning experience for students. 

“This allows students to develop the business skills or I think life skills that they need to be successful,” Walker said.

Walker also explained how this learning experience could be helpful in the long term. 

“These are all important skills that you guys will need in your post-college life, and if we can do that in a fun way, so be it,” Walker said.

Junior Carter Berkey, a participant in this class project, states his excitement towards the project. 

“It is a fun way for us to get out in the community and maybe meet new people. It is also teaching us different sales techniques that will be helpful in the future in our careers.”

Berkey continued, explaining his trades so far. 

We traded a pen for a golf club. Then the golf club for catchers’ gear, and then our last trade was the catcher’s gear for a Keurig,” Berkey said.

Sophomore Eliza Frentress is also participating in this class assignment. 

“I like seeing what other people have traded, and it’s cool that we actually started with a pen, and we have come this far,” Frentress said.

Frentress hopes to learn networking and communication skills from this project.

First-year Ellen Houtz is also involved in the bigger better project. Houtz’s most recent trade was for a toaster. 

“I’m actually really grateful for this because it’s really nice to be a first-year and to be able to have an excuse to talk to other people,” Houtz stated.  

First-year Katie Oosterhuis states what she hopes will happen by the end of this project. “Were hoping for something that will get a decent amount of cash out of it,” Oosterhuis said. “We’re kind of saving the bigger items for last and starting smaller and hopefully will jump back up at the end.”