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Ivey MBA students give back to the London community for Social Impact Day

Aug 10, 2023

Ivey’s MBA students got an opportunity to get away from their desks and volunteer in the London area for Social Impact Day. Organized twice a year at various points in the program, the event allows students to give back to the local community by volunteering their time and effort to numerous local organizations in and around London. While MBA students may come from all over the world to attend Ivey, they call London their home for the year and are excited about the opportunity to help their local community.

At this summer’s event, students had the opportunity to volunteer at seven different locations, each with unique activities to support the organization. This year’s sites were:

  • ReForest London
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of London and Area
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities
  • Urban Roots
  • YU Ranch
  • United Way
  • 519Pursuit

Social Impact Day serves as an exciting opportunity for MBA students to learn about the community’s needs and the volunteer work required to make an impact. The latest edition started with breakfast at the Brock Pavilion to prepare the students for the day, and a speech from Richie Bloomfield, HBA ‘14, MBA ’20, and Co-Founder of Urban Roots London and Sidetrack: A Wortley Café.

Impacting the community

The recent Social Impact Day was significant for Ivey's centennial celebrations. Giving back to the community is a vital component of the Ivey Next strategy, and this year's MBA students were excited to take the opportunity to contribute to the London community.

“The precedent set by my mentors when I first started at Ivey was to share and support each other. We’d build one another up and celebrate our collective successes. This foundation of thoughtfulness and care for each other extends beyond the bubble of candidates and graduates. Social Impact Day is an extension of this mindset and to me, it is an opportunity to connect with the London community and play our part in improving it. A community that has been there for us for months, if not years. The gratitude and initiative to share our time and resources that Social Impact Day instils will carry on.” –Teddy Dedels, MBA ’24 candidate

Dedels volunteered at Ronald McDonald House Charities where she, along with other students, helped to bake a variety of treats for the families living at the facility. The Ronald McDonald House acts as a home for families of seriously ill children receiving medical care in London.

“I volunteered at Ronald McDonald House Charities because its mission resonates with my collectivist cultural background. In my home country, when you are ill, you can always count on full support from not only immediate family, but from extended family too. Ronald McDonald House Charities provide a similar community to families when they need it the most, and I wanted to contribute and experience their work firsthand for a day.” – Nihal Nishadul, MBA ’24 candidate

The importance of volunteers

For many charitable organizations, volunteers are essential for day-to-day operations. Many of these organizations run on very limited budgets and rely on the generosity of volunteers to provide support for the volunteers. Sarah Henke works with 519Pursuit, an outreach program for community members facing poverty and homelessness. She says the support from the Ivey MBA student volunteers helped produce a much larger number of care packages, not typically seen with regular staffing. Students volunteering at 519Pursuit spent Social Impact Day producing and distributing care packages containing food, hygiene products, and other essentials.

Anna Badillo, the Executive Director of Urban Roots, emphasizes the value of volunteers for this season’s especially rainy weather. Urban Roots is a non-profit organization that revitalizes underused urban land in London for self-sustaining agriculture practices by producing organic crops, selling produce to cover operating costs, and donating everything else. Badillo says that the abundance of rainfall this season resulted in unusually high growth of weeds. Student volunteers were on-site to tackle the issue, unafraid of getting into the dirt and pulling weeds to keep garden beds clean and healthy. Badillo says this helps the Urban Roots staff keep up with the ongoing tasks of the busy season.

Coming full circle

Derek Gartshore, MBA ’24 candidate, had previously volunteered at 519Pursuit and jumped at the opportunity to return for Social Impact Day during his MBA. Gartshore has a particularly close connection to 519Pursuit. During his application to Ivey, Gartshore had received a reference from one of the 519Pursuit co-founders, which he credited with helping him immensely during the process. He says he was happy to return the favour once again by reconnecting with 519Pursuit, this time with a group of students to help support the organization.

“The community keeps coming full circle, the more you put into it the more you get out of it.” – Derek Gartshore, MBA ’24 candidate

Watch the video above.