Working Millennials Putting Their Money Where Their Mouths Are

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It is not surprising that many college-aged students, particularly at Penn, care about social impact – the act of creating positive change for people who face social challenges. IMPACT Magazine is just one example of a student group that seeks to inspire other students to make a difference in society. And yet in recent years, this mindset has not been unique to college students alone. Analysis of the Millennial generation (people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s) has shown that their actions, guided by their focus on social impact, have drastically changed the scope of investment, advertising and manufacturing in companies across the globe.

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The Pursuit of *Intrinsic* Happiness

A focus on achievement is creating extremely high levels of anxiety in today’s society. Especially at Penn, there is a lot of pressure to succeed– to earn nearly perfect grades in an impressive major, to obtain leadership roles, to land a competitive internship, to have a packed social calendar, etc. We receive positive recognition for external forms of achievement. I hear of peers getting jobs at Goldman or McKinsey far more often than I do of them meditating or achieving zen. This recognition can become unhealthy when people start constructing their own goals and basing their own self-worth solely on extrinsic forms of validation.

Recognizing the difference between extrinsically and intrinsically motivated goals is critical in achieving a state of positive mental health. The key difference between the two is that extrinsic goals come from an externally constructed sense of achievement, whereas intrinsic goals come from internally derived interests that reflect personal meaning. According to research conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School and the University of Pennsylvania, extrinsic motivation includes the pursuit of goals for the purposes of money, social status, or physical attractiveness; whereas, intrinsic goals are motivated by activities that are inherently interesting, pleasurable, and/or meaningful.

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Making Waves in Environmental Change

How does social change happen? It begins with the individual. When people are passionate about an issue, they discuss it with friends. They take meaningful action. And ultimately, they garner interest and inspire others to join the movement.

Dan Garofalo and Nicole Marquis understand these ideas and are putting them into action.

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