Hyperion Council encourages community outreach

Although students frequently pass beneath the Hyperion Council banner hanging from the second floor of the business school, few know what the organization truly is.

“I’ve heard of it before,” said Emily Campo, a sophomore majoring in business management and organization. “Is that the peer counseling group?”

Comprised of undergraduate business students, the mission of the 3-year-old council is to strengthen the bonds between local businesses and the university by developing educational outreach projects focusing on market economics, entrepreneurship, personal and financial success and business ethics. The projects are aimed at improving the standard of living and providing economic opportunity for the disadvantaged.

To become a member, one must be nominated by a student, teacher or community member, have a 3.4 GPA and embody the council’s five core values: integrity, fortitude, resilience, excellence and initiative. If selected, the student receives a formal invitation to apply, a process that entails two letters of recommendation, an essay and an interview.

Ellen McPhillip, director of Admissions in the School of Business and academic advisor for Hyperion Council, said that the council often turns away the “high fliers.”

Robyn Parris, a senior majoring in international finance and marketing and a second-year council member, said, “We’re not looking for a [student with a] 3.9 [GPA]. We’re looking for the student who works really hard for a 3.4.”

Hyperion Council’s 13 members hail from countries all over the world, including Barbados and Brazil.

“The council touches on issues that reach across boundaries; issues that are transferable in the political and business sense,” McPhillip said.

Each year, the members of the council, who refer to one another as “titans,” develop outreach projects. Last year they participated in eight projects, one of which was Voices for Children, a program aimed at teaching financial literacy to men and women who have aged out of the foster care system.

Parris described the program as “eye-opening” and spoke of how she developed close relationships with those who “wanted and needed to be there.”

The organization also took part in programs such as What’s in Your Wallet?, a course provided to UM students discussing the credit card trap, and accounting classes taught at a high school in Kendall, where members taught success skills, explained market economics and assisted students with the college application process.

“It re-instills everything you learn in the classroom,” Parris said. “In order to teach, you need to know and find the best way to articulate it.”

Parris describes the organization as being “in its initial phase,” which is probably why the organization is relatively unknown. But the council hopes to increase awareness.

“We are a new organization, and we are hoping to get more support to help create bigger and better ways for helping our community,” said Josh Crunk, a junior and first-year member.

“It takes a certain personality to do this,” McPhillip said. “All of us think we have certain qualities, but not until you’re asked to use them can you really determine whether you have them.”

Stephanie Genaurdi may be contacted at s.genuardi@umiami.edu.