How social innovation students are changing the world

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Photo credit: Sabrina Benites

The students of the BUS 374, Social Innovations class at BYU-Idaho are changing the world. All semester, the students have been working on projects that create solutions to problems they are passionate about fixing.

Students were instructed to research one social issue, how it worked and the potential solutions to it. They used their skills to reach out to others, implementing their project through action.

Many chose topics they were passionate about. Some topics surrounded clean water for developing nations, creating education opportunities for refugee women and children, providing a better learning experience for visually impaired students at BYU-I and offering free school lunches.

Abigayl Finch, a sophomore studying public policy and administration, is passionate about focusing her efforts on political polarization in the United States. She wants to start up an event called University Talks, similar to the national program called America Talks, to help bridge the gap in political polarization, forming healthy relationships with those with differentiating views.

“The distance between people of different political ideologies have been growing, decreasing the desire of people to understand those that think differently than them, often dehumanizing, vilifying or differing them,” Finch said. “Under the previous presidential administration, division and hatred spread like wildfire. My heart broke as I … witnessed this inability to compromise and understand differences with respect and empathy firsthand.”

In his earnest considerations for which church to join, Joseph Smith asked himself, “What is to be done?”

“Taking [the] social innovations class has allowed me to ask myself, ‘what is to be done?’ One person can make a difference,” Finch said. “Find things and issues you are passionate about.”

Students have found that passion is the core foundation that sparks ideas that turn into hope to better the life of another. This very ideology produces hope for people, generating change that they seek.

Sofia Rodriguez, a senior studying public health, loves creating change in the world.

“This class has made me think about and face what I’m doing good at and what I’m not, giving me confidence to not only start something to change the world in the future, but to improve my own life where I’m at now,” Rodriguez said.