How many times have we been told to “be the change you wish to see in the world”, and then thought “I can’t change the world all by myself”?
But what if we, instead, believed “if I can do one thing to better the world, then I have changed it for the better.”
It doesn’t take much to be a positive change agent, whether it’s simply holding the door open for the person behind you, or using one of your skills or talents to help someone else. And that’s the message behind Rutgers Changemakers.
During my junior year, I enrolled in an honors seminar aptly titled, “Social Innovation: The Business of Doing Good” where I learned about creating businesses that use their profits to do social good. It occurred to me that you can use your Rutgers degree in any field to impact the world in a constructive way. After having conversations about this with my advisor, Krista Kohlmann, she spoke to her colleague, Kristin Cothran, and Changemakers Week was born.
Our mission was to feature organizations from which students could relate, learn, and be inspired to be a “changemaker” in their community. We realized almost every student knew what TOMS were, and their “One for One” concept, but maybe they didn’t know their story. Besides, how awesome is it that you could purchase a pair for $20 and decorate them for free, all while helping a child in need?
The main reason we were drawn to Pencils of Promise was because they made a huge impact in the world, with three simple resources: a dream (education for all), social media, and $25. Founder, Adam Braun, is also featured in this year’s Forbes’ 30 Under 30, and is a testament to all young people wanting to change the world.
After seeing how students can help their peers so easily through “random acts of kindness,” our immediate reaction was “could you imagine the impact this would have on our campus?” It only takes a little for a lot of people to be affected… Now we’re looking forward to sweets, snacks, and support from students all over New Brunswick!
One of my favorite parts about social entrepreneurship and serving others is that it’s different from charity. It’s so much more fulfilling when you can help someone help themselves, rather than having someone depend on you for assistance. That’s why we invited Stewart Ramsey, co-founder of Krochet Kids, to speak. They’ve used the simple skill of crocheting to revolutionize the lives of women in Africa and their families.
All of these events have varying themes, but the string that pulls them all together is that it doesn’t take much to be a Changemaker. If anything, I’ve learned that it only takes one adjustment in your life, whether it’s deciding to recycle, or making socially conscious consumer decisions. TOMS, Pencils of Promise, and Krochet Kids have changed the world… will you?
Learn more about each of our events on our website: getinvolved.rutgers.edu/changemakers-week.