The Westmont Decision Lab will continue next fall

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Dr. Enrico Manlapig and a collection of his business students offer free consultation services to the Santa Barbara community as the Wesmont Decision Lab. With future projects lined up for next fall, Westmont Business Students will continue to influence the Santa Barbara community. Manlapig was unable to disclose any details about the next project, but he’s excited for the outcomes.

The Westmont Decision Lab, or D-Lab, was founded back by Manlapig 2014. It’s first project was to help San Marcos Parent Child Workshop, a local preschool previously located at San Marco High School, respond to a series of significant challenges. The property where the classes were previously held was needed by the high school for their own classes. Without a director, the preschool staff asked the Decision Lab for help. This particular project was spearheaded by Manlapig, who framed the data himself and put them in touch with Grace Gathering, where they have resided since. Since then, students participating in the Decision Lab have been given more responsibility over the projects, working with St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Trailhead, different offices around Westmont, as well as consulting with the Bread of Life meal sharing program.

Last summer, the Santa Barbara Zoo consulted the Decision Lab about it’s financial project. The Decision Lab was asked to consider viable building structures for the Santa Barbara Zoo’s potential second site to increase income. The Lab was asked to look at the data and create a portfolio with possible structures. After they conducted the research, the team of students presented a crisp strategy to Zoo Management.

The program allows students to practice the skills they’ve learned in the classroom within an environment where their thinking impacts communities. “The students need to see something real. This brings the material to life,” Manlapig said.
Manlapig envisions the Decision lab as providing the difficult experience of managing competing values. “I wanted them to have this experience, so that way when they say ‘I have values’, it has teeth” said Manlapig.

Manlapig was excited to share his vision for Westmont projects in general. He loves it when Westmont students volunteer for outreach programs like Potters Clay to build houses and provide outreach, but feels the good they do can is limited by the positions that they are given. He believes that students have the potential to do much more if they were allowed to apply their vocation.

Students who participate in the program have a chance to impact the Santa Barbara community with future projects. Next fall will see a new Decision Lab team working with a new project.


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