Posted 2.16.06

Weatherhead School of Management’s local Net Impact chapter hosted its fourth annual Case Bowl competition on February 3rd, raising over $900 for a local charity. A highly popular event with students and faculty, the annual Case Bowl explores two sides of a corporate social responsibility issue by pitting teams of professors against each other in a battle of skill, wit, and humor.

This year’s debate centered on the social impact of a business case entitled “Chad-Cameroon Petroleum Development and Pipeline Project (A).” Case Bowl 2006 witnessed Case Western Reserve University Professors David Cooperrider, Asim Erdilek, and Simon Peck face off against opponent Professors Sayan Chatterjee, George Vairaktarakis, and Betty Vandenbosch. Keeping things focused and on track was the job of Moderator Professor Richard “The Gorilla” Osborne.

For the past three years, Weatherhead’s Net Impact chapter has used the Case Bowl as a means to raise money for various charities. Attendees “vote” for the winning team of professors by donating money into the team’s respective donation boxes, the proceeds of which are given to the charity.

This year’s designated charity was the Tremont Urban Food System (TUFS), an 86-year-old, not-for-profit organization located in Cleveland, Ohio’s Tremont neighborhood. TUFS, a United Way agency, runs a variety of adolescent and adult programs including a unique adolescent organic gardening program. According to TUFS representative Gail Long, the garden program teaches urban youth how to plant and tend neighborhood organic gardens. Once the produce is ripe, the teenagers harvest the gardens and sell the produce to local restaurants and businesses. Aside from the fun of outdoor gardening, the program teaches at-risk teens important skills including the motivation and discipline required to hold down their first job as well as the initiative and interpersonal skills required to market and sell their produce in local neighborhoods.

A well attended event, Case Bowl 2006 was enjoyed by over 100 students and professors. Afterward Professor David Cooperrider commented, “It was great fun and there was a lot of great energy. It is exciting to see business used as a force of change, which is what we did tonight.” The feeling was shared by other participants as well. Professor Betty Vandenbosch had a good time during the debate and said, “Everyone was so involved and the adrenaline was running. We had fun but the most important part is that people are talking about these issues.”


Asked if it was deemed a success, the local Net Impact chapter’s V.P. for Finance, Kevin Frazier, replied, “Absolutely. It was a great success. One of the biggest challenges Net Impact faces is demonstrating to our colleagues the importance of learning not only how to manage, but how to manage with a social impact.”

This sentiment was echoed by fellow Net Impact member Christina Heinrich. “Case Bowl is really a great opportunity, especially with our curriculum change initiative. By providing an informational and interesting event, we hope to receive more buy in from students and professors as we attempt to get these types of business cases introduced into Weatherhead’s curriculum,” she said.


In addition to professors and local Net Impact members, a large number of Weatherhead students turned out for the annual event. MBA student Matt Evans commented, “The wide array of diverse opinions heard tonight is reflective of the talent that was on display here. The professors and Net Impact are a credit to Weatherhead.” Countless other students expressed the fun they had and the lessons they learned. Paul Decker, another MBA student, noted, “It was interesting to see how professors prepare and present cases and compare that to how we are expected to prepare cases for class.”


Professor Asim Erdilek summed up the evening. He said, “I had a lot of fun. There was so much energy here tonight!”

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