Net Impact Blog
Stay tuned into the latest news, impact stories, and tips for creating positive social and environmental impact on campus and throughout your career.
Champions and leaders. Those are the two words that come to mind when we think about the campus directors for our Small Steps, Big Wins (SSBW) challenge. For three years, this undergraduate competition has been inspiring and motivating students to take social and sustainable actions and then record their activity online. It all adds up to make a big impact in the world, and it's because of the campus directors that the program has thrived. Sometimes a campus director comes along who goes above and beyond the call of duty.
This post is the first advice column in our new series. In this edition, longtime impact expert and career coach Shannon Houde tackles two questions.
The question behind each Impactathon has guided all 12 events in the global series: What will it take to get our next generation prepared for the workforce and to solve some of our most pressing social challenges? Over the last two months, Net Impact visited a handful of stops in Europe to introduce design thinking to students and employees in the hopes of generating new ideas and fostering strong connections.
Why is it Up to Us?
“No great country can remain great if it spends all its money on today and yesterday and too little on tomorrow. You have to invest in tomorrow.” – President Clinton, CGI U 2015
Think about the oyster, the tiny janitor of the ocean.
This incredibly efficient animal cleans up to 50 gallons of water per day, removing nitrogen and other wastes. Nitrogen build-up causes massive dead zones in bays and estuaries around the world. Yet, an acre of oyster reef can remove 500 pounds of nitrogen from the water annually, and 1,300 acres of oyster reef is equivalent to building a state-of-the-art water treatment plant.
Believe it or not, the benefits that oysters provide the marine ecosystem are relevant to three academic trends and skill sets that are becoming increasingly important in sustainability-related careers:
Christopher White is no stranger to bringing about positive change. He co-developed and teaches a class on social intrapreneurship at the Ross School of Business, and he leads the Center for Positive Organizations, which helps leaders build high-performing organizations and bring out the best in people. He's also been consulting with purpose-driven organizations for 15 years. Now you don't have to be a business student or a client to benefit from his insights—he recently co-authored the book Changing Your Company From the Inside Out, which is a guide for creating positive social change wherever you work.
“What do you like about being white?"
It was a question I’d never heard asked before. Nor had the few dozen people sitting around me at a North Carolina church.
I was at a two-day workshop facilitated by the North Carolina-based Racial Equity Institute. My workshop participants were a mix of races and professions, with a high percentage of teachers, police officers, church members, and social change professionals in the room.
Expectations of business are shifting. Consumers increasingly choose brands that strive to embed positive social and environmental values and practices into their products, services and workplaces. In particular, millennials, who account for $1.3 trillion in spending power in the U.S., want to interact with and work for companies that not only focus on profit, but also deliver value to people – employees, communities, consumers – and the planet.
So if you are not yet thinking about social impact, when is the right time to start?
This series profiles the work happening in our amazing community, one member at a time. Eric Weaver helped found Net Impact, and he's the CEO and Founder of Opportunity Fund. We're so glad that he's sharing part of his story with us here, along with some great advice and some reminiscing about the first Net Impact conference (faxes are involved, not to mention MBA students crying tears of joy).
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