Steve Miller: From theory to practice

Nichols sophomore and General Business major Steve Miller recently had the opportunity to put his Nichols class experience to work at a local Watertown public meeting. He was one of the local Watertown residents who spoke up at a public meeting supporting a proposal to scale down the number of apartments from a proposed 222 apartments. And he credits his skills—and gumption—in making his public presentation to the Business and Society Management course he had just taken at Nichols.

The course, taught by Professor Mary Trottier, culminated in a simulated town meeting for which students took different sides in a debate over whether to allow the development of a local casino.

Miller says he put the lessons he learned to work almost immediately, when his grandmother, also a Watertown resident and a regular at public meetings, asked him to join her before the planning board. She opposed the large-scale apartment project because it would add to an already congested area of town.

“I went to the meeting dressed in a suit, stood up, and stated my name and what street I lived on, just like Professor Trottier taught us,” Miller recalls, adding that he was the youngest person to speak. Miller had his first taste of making a public case in the mock town meeting for Trottier’s Business and Society course, in which he acted as a consultant warning of the problems in constructing a proposed underground casino.

“My objective in the course was to make it exciting and to engage every single aspect in an experiential way,” Trottier explains, adding that her students used research and presentation skills to fill the roles of developers, town officials, and outside consultants in vetting the theoretical casino proposed in the course.

Miller did his part with a multimedia presentation as a consultant to the town. The lessons of the course were not lost on him, he says. “Everybody should really learn to represent how they feel about their towns, and if necessary to fight for something.”