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MBA students give back to the community for Social Impact Day

Aug 12, 2021

Ivey’s MBA students put their classroom lessons on corporate citizenship into action as they fanned out across London and surrounding area, or in their local communities, for a day of volunteer work.

“A big lesson we’re learning at Ivey right now is the importance of community,” said Jennifer Chen, an MBA student who volunteered at the London Food Bank. “Being able to participate in a day like this lets us single-handedly make an impact in the community. It was great to meet people in the London community and know that, through our contributions, we’re able to make a difference.”

Chen was one of approximately 80 participants in the MBA program’s annual Social Impact Day on August 10. The student-run event is supported by Ivey’s Centre for Building Sustainable Value. Working in small groups, the students volunteered at seven London-area not-for-profit organizations: City of London, Habitat for Humanity, London Food Bank, ReForest London, Stevenson Children’s Camp, Urban Roots, and YU Ranch. Some students participating in the program virtually opted to volunteer in their local communities. One student even took on a 50-kilometre cycling race in British Columbia to fundraise for Multiple Sclerosis.

Watch the students in action in the video above and find out what the day meant to them.

Ready to help, come rain or shine

Brad Danks, an MBA ’22 candidate who co-chaired the event, along with classmate Swany Koul, said he was impressed by the students’ enthusiasm. Even rainy weather didn’t dampen the students’ spirits. Danks said they worked hard throughout the day helping with operations at the local food bank, providing maintenance work at a children’s camp, and cleaning up a riverbed in London, among many other activities.

“Despite the dreary weather, we were met with smiling students in the morning who were excited to give back to the community they’ve called home for the past six months,” he said. “Overall, the group was able to overcome the poor weather and make a real impact in the London community, while having fun along the way.”

Joe Douglas, Executive Director of Stevenson Children's Camp, also noticed the students' enthusiasm and said their efforts were a huge help to the camp's staff.

"If all the events come with that much enthusiasm, I would highly recommend the group to anyone and would love to have next year's batch out as well," he said. 

Aditya Dhar, an MBA student who volunteered at the London Food Bank, said a highlight of the day was seeing the group’s excitement, which didn’t come as a surprise to him.

“The most fun part of the day was to see a lot of smiles and cheer,” he said. “For most of us, community citizenship is a big part of our lives. So when we have an opportunity to get out in the community and help out in whatever way we can, a lot of hands go up. It comes naturally to a lot of students at Ivey, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”

Lessons on social impact

Dhar said the activities complemented the learning in the classroom about the importance of social impact.

“When we talk about business, traditionally, it has always been about profits, but now the conversation is moving to social impact towards people and towards the planet. There are all these other important considerations as we think about the kind of work that we want to do,” he said. “It’s not just about the money. It’s not just about a commercial purpose. We live in a community and the onus is on us to find ways to give back to it in whatever capacity most satisfies our soul.”