This blog post was written by Sara Brown (MBA’20).
Last week, Vanderbilt’s Net Impact Club teamed up with the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures (TFC) to host a week full of events focusing on impact. Net Impact is a nonprofit membership organization for students and professionals interested in using business skills in support of various social and environmental causes. The TFC is an interdisciplinary, student-led organization that develops leaders to alleviate poverty through market forces and enterprise. The week’s events included a shift at Second Harvest Food Bank, week-long student sustainability pledges, a Humans of Owen session featuring students from Project Pyramid, and two lunch and learns.
On Monday, students started writing their week-long sustainability pledges, committing to goals such as using less water, not eating meat, not buying single-use plastics, and biking to school. The pledges allowed everyone to be a part of Impact Week and think consciously about their consumption habits. On Monday evening, a group of Net Impact members volunteered at Second Harvest, a food bank that serves the Middle Tennessee community. The students spent an evening in the freezer room sorting frozen meats to make packaging family boxes easier for the organization.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Net Impact team hosted lunch & learns featuring outside speakers. The panel focusing on Environmental Sustainability included guests from local nonprofits, a business owner, and an environmental lawyer. The panelists explained their organization’s efforts to reduce waste and also shared tips on how students could improve their consumption habits and engage with future employers on sustainability efforts.
The second lunch & learn was a Social Enterprise Consulting (SEc) Showcase. SEc is a class that gives students a chance to provide consulting work for local social enterprises in the Nashville area, building their consulting skills, learning about social enterprises, and giving back to the community all at once. Students from two teams — ethical fashion brand ABLE and urban farming initiative Trap Garden — presented on their final consulting projects at the showcase.
To close out the week, Net Impact partnered with Humans of Owen on Thursday before Closing Bell to share student stories from recent Project Pyramid spring break trips. The speakers had traveled to Ethiopia and Guatemala to work with local social enterprises. Their stories focused on cultural findings and personal experiences when in the country.
Impact Week attendees enjoyed learning from their peers and pledging to be more sustainable. Owen students are constantly making an impact on campus and in the Nashville community, but the Impact Week events encouraged students to take their efforts a step further and think about how they can alter their consumption habits to have less of an impact on the planet.