Social justice. Activism. Human rights. Advocacy. Thrown around in conversations about social change, these terms sound great, but the practical meanings of such nebulous ideas can be hard to nail down.
Caring about social impact, though, doesn’t have to be hard at all. Making an informed decision about where you go out to dinner based on local food sourcing or company policies doesn’t take much. Recognizing the importance of self-care and putting down that textbook to go for a walk with a friend can be the difference between two very stressed out college students and two well-rested and well-balanced friends—self-care can be as impactful as any activist movement. Penn has ABCS (academically-based community service) classes that will introduce you to opportunities to local social change work. Recycling your lunch trash, signing an online petition, smiling at a fellow student as you pass by on Locust—small acts of kindness, of intentional positivity, can make a big difference.
The great thing about social impact is that it’s not picky. College can be the time to discover what interests and inspires you, and if you really want to delve into a cause, there are limitless possibilities. Passionate about education? Go fight for equal educational opportunities for children in your school district, your country, or a country on another continent. Concerned about the environment? Join the sustainability movement and advocate for renewable energy sources, environmental protection laws, and wildlife protection agencies. Curious about how diversity can fight discrimination? Support movements working toward cultural, religious, and linguistic rights for all ethnic groups.
At IMPACT, we believe social impact means being informed about the issues affecting the communities—from neighborhoods to countries—that surround you, caring about those issues, and finding ways to be involved in movements that create solutions. Social impact is the difference you can make by knowing, caring, and actively creating the world you want to see.