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TIA blog series: Bringing Moe’s Southwest Grill to Colgate

By andrewmazen on October 17, 2013

Have you ever craved a burrito so much that you travel almost an hour just to get one? Tons of Colgate students feel the same way, which is why my partner Jeremy Lincoln and I are teaming up to bring a Moe’s Southwest Grill to Colgate’s campus. Moe’s, regarded as the fastest growing quick serve restaurant in the country, has an agreement with the on-campus food provider, Sodexo, which allows Moe’s franchises to operate and serve healthy burritos to the community. The ideal location would be the Edge Café, located within the Bryan Complex, which would allow meal plan money and accept cash or credit as well.

Moe's Southwest Grill

Moe’s Southwest Grill

Residents of the community and students would have access to this restaurant, which we envision to be open from lunch time until late night. Moe’s brings a reputable brand to the community, providing fast, healthy, and affordable burritos in a friendly environment. This will save community members and students time and money by traveling less than a mile to get exactly what you want!

The Thought Into Action mentors have helped us tremendously, especially with our plans after Moe’s at Colgate. Mentors John Nozell, Lynn Plant, Matteo Seconi, Hamilton Colwell, and Katie Finnegan have assisted us in formulating plans to take similar action at other institutions, providing Moe’s to other college campuses, and satisfying the student body’s desire for superb on-campus food. The TIA team has opened up avenues we never could have imagined, while also guiding us along the way and assisting in the future plans for our endeavors. Without TIA, this venture would have never even been entertained.

We welcome all forms of support in order to get this venture accomplished as soon as possible. Our goal is to have this implemented within the next year, so your support is needed to help streamline the process! Please feel free to voice your opinions by contacting either Jeremy or me.

Andrew Mazen’15 is an Environmental Geography major from Upper Saddle River, NJ. While in high school, he placed second at the 2011 DECA International Career Development Conference in Orlando, FL for quick serve restaurant management. This is his 3rd year on the varsity swim team at Colgate and he is involved in a number of clubs including The Monthly Rag, Colgate’s satirical paper.

Jeremy (Jay) Lincoln ’15 is a Psychology major with a minor in Writing and Rhetoric. He serves as the president and captain of the men’s club hockey team and also participates on the club baseball team. Jay is involved in numerous clubs and activities on campus and most recently participated in the popular on-campus play “This is Not a Play About Sex”. Jay is from Amherst, MA.


Perspectives of a TIA Mentor by Paul Cascio ’83

By Contributing Writer on October 15, 2013
Paul Cascio '83

Paul Cascio ’83

I was first introduced to Thought Into Action in the spring of 2013. As a graduate of Colgate (class of 1983) I have always tried to find a way to remain connected to the university in ways beyond giving to the annual fund. Each year I would make a donation, but I never felt like I had a particularly meaningful way to give back in ways that went beyond financial support. Having now spent a weekend on campus participating as a mentor in the TIA program, I have found an exciting, energetic, and very productive way to be involved in the Colgate community and to give real world experience to future Colgate alumni that will be business leaders of the future.

I arrived in Hamilton on Friday night and headed directly to TIA “world headquarters” at 20 Utica Street. Within minutes of meeting with Jean Schroder, Wills Hapworth, and Andy Greenfield it was extremely obvious that the passion for TIA starts at the top. Wills, Andy, and Jean enthusiastically welcomed me to the program and made it clear that their commitment to the program is genuine, relentless, and that they are totally open to new ideas to help make TIA better. Most impressive is that despite the level of accomplishment of the broader mentor group, the focus of TIA is singularly focused on the students that have been selected to participate in the program. It is extremely refreshing to be immersed in an environment in which very successful alumni business leaders are so willing to check their egos at the door and allow the students to be the focus of attention. The recurring theme of every conversation I had with other mentors over the weekend was how we can make TIA better for the students and what we can do to give the students more constructive feedback.

On Saturday morning we reconvened and, as a self-described “newbie”, I was not sure what to expect when the students showed up. I remembered back to when I was an underclassman and I could not have imagined getting up early on a Saturday, attending an all-day program for no credit, and listening to “old” people wax profound about their successes. Well I could not have been more wrong. The TIA program is very student-centric and unlike any other academic environment I have ever witnessed. The students were all very engaged, self-assured, and without exception, brought an attitude of wanting to learn, interact, and exhibited a clear desire to receive constructive feedback from the mentors. We broke up into smaller groups and did a much deeper dive into the specific business plans. The group discussion was focused primarily on the students sharing their challenges, accomplishments, and objectives for the next four weeks. Most impressive was that the mentors didn’t simply give the “answers” to the students, but rather asked the right questions that helped the students learn how to think as business men and women and develop solutions on their own.

I am very much looking forward to future TIA weekends. I only wish that this program existed when I was at Colgate. It didn’t, but I am convinced that it will help to fortify the outstanding liberal arts foundation that Colgate students obtain with real world, experienced-based mentoring for those lucky enough to be a part of the Thought in Action program.

Paul Cascio ’83, P’17 serves as the Managing Member of 3S Advisors, LLC in Cleveland, OH. 3S Advisors provides objective advice to entrepreneurs and business owners to help build shareholder value through a focus on strategy, scalability and sustainability of the business model.

TIA blog series: After initial success, Vern Clothing looks for additional capital

By Viktor Mak '15 on October 4, 2013

Vern Clothing is a socially conscious clothing brand that works directly with Guatemalan artisans to sell high quality handmade products in the United States. Vern Clothing works exclusively with weaving cooperatives, pays the weavers a fair wage, and donates ten percent of gross profits back to a non-profit in Guatemala that does community capacity building in economically struggling villages.

Vern Clothing
Matthew Kordonowy, a junior at Washington and Lee University, and I launched Vern Clothing after I spent two summers in Guatemala volunteering with a weaving cooperative and learning Spanish. After my first summer, I realized that these artisans with whom I was working were extremely skilled but their products were not reaching the US markets. I founded Vern Clothing in order to design products that would connect the fashion conscious U.S consumer with Guatemalan artisans.

The Thought Into Action Institute has been crucial to my success. Participating in TIA the year before launching Vern Clothing changed how I viewed the world. Without TIA, I would have never seen the opportunity or known how to seize it. TIA also taught me the importance of mentors. Since starting Vern, I’ve been in close contact with a number of TIA mentors like Jane Porter, who has helped with weaving and the technical aspect of the production. I have also been in touch with Wills Hapworth, Bob Chamberlain, and Kristine Michelsen-Correa for advice on Vern Clothing.

Thanks to all the mentorship from TIA and tons of hard work, Vern has had a lot of initial success. We’ve had over three thousand unique visitors to the site, an exciting number of sales, and we have four boutiques carrying our items with the Colgate University Bookstore soon becoming the fifth. We have received an encouraging amount of positive feedback and used the revenue that this success has generated to improve our products. Our designs are tested and popular. Our vision for Vern is to expand our retail and wholesale business.

We need your help now to start production of our newest items. We’ve launched a crowdsourcing campaign on Indiegogo to help pay for the initial deposit. Please check it out and like us on Facebook to keep updated on our progress.

Thank you for your interest in Vern Clothing!

Vern Clothing 2