How can you make an impact?

Derek Mehraban's picture
Instructor
6/4/2018

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Being a student is great. It's an important part of your life. And I have to ask, how are you making an impact now? 

Sometimes students feel they have to wait till they graduate and become a professional to make an impact. But that's not true. Even as a student you can make this world a better place. It's part of your job.

So I challenge you. This week. Today. Now. Make a difference. Do something positive that helps others - not just you.

Then tell us about it in the comments. I know you all have greatness inside of you. So let's hear some of it. Do something great! 

Comments & Feedback

Student

As a student attending a big ten university it is quite overwhelming somtimes to always focus on your studies. In the mean time I'm apart of a wonderful student organization on campus called Women of Distinction where volunteer in the local community and attend workshops to further our careers professionally. So I always encourage young freshmen to get out of their door room and mingle, find something you may be interested in  outside your major and meet new people. My impact to the world is to encourage youth to meet new people and learn from them to get better understandings of how people think. If your looking for a new org to join check out WOD!

 

Student

Doing something great for society is something that I always have wanted to become apart of, but always felt like I did not have the time. In reality, I had more than enough time, I was just lazy. I am excited because this year I will be apart of an executive board that runs a club called Smile 4 Kids. It was created by individuals who were all close to another MSU student who passed away. They founded this club in his honor to help others and I am so happy to help grow this club and to become involved in the community. I also want to get involved with my local animal shelter because just this week my dog has been lost and we have been checking every shelter possible and everyone that my family has spoken to has been so caring and helpful. Even though we are going on day 5 of not knowing where my 5th family member is, I would like to get involved with the humaine society on the days that I have off from work. 

Student

It filled my heart with such joy to read through everyone else's comments about how they make their positive impact by leading more sustainable lives! I've been having great success with my compost bin so far, and my house plants certainly love it. I'm very careful with my food waste, and try to remember to bring my own to-go containers if I eat out at a restaurant so I don't have to become responsible for more plastic or styrofoam.

However, while living sustainably can benefit the environment and world as a whole when we make that commitment, that's not the nugget of positivity I wanted to share today.

As simple and probably a bit silly as this sounds, my attitude in the morning was completely flipped yesterday as someone ahead of me in line at the Biggby drive-thru paid for my coffee. It was a small act of generosity that turned my morning from a hectic and stressful start (as I had a lot to get through at work and I knew I had more chores to do at home when I clocked out) into a brighter opportunity to show others some potentially much-needed kindness. I went from rubbing the sleep out of my eyes to singing along to my music while I drove into work. It was sweet and simple, and I gave the cashier a $10 to put toward any customers behind me. I whole-heartedly believe in "paying things forward," and this was a creative way of releasing some kindness into the world that I would never have thought about yesterday morning.

This little experience just showed me that it can be so easy to brighten people's days, that I don't think there's a good excuse to NOT to be nice to strangers, service workers, and just people in general at most times. Making the world friendlier and supporting one another can have a major impact in your community. Sometimes I just need a little reminder to "pay it forward" when I have so much kindness to give.

Student

I make I difference every day by being an honest man. I also reuse the same water bottle each day and live minimally. What that means is I by foods that come without packaging or easily recycled packaging. To me, I have no specific reason for being environmentally friendly other than I despise wasting things. I also unplug everything when I leave the house, take short showers, and save anything that can be reused instead of throwing it out. For example, I have been using the same plastic bottle for water for two months now. I also make it a personal goal to make at least one person a day smile. Sometimes its a stranger, mostly it's my friends and co-workers, but nonetheless, I still believe that a smile a day is worth a small fortune. 

Student

I never think I will make the world change it because of me, But I always remain myself as "greater person", I not perfect but i always polite to other, and love to help. I always drop garbage in the correct place. and I never cheat or steal. As a student, I think the only things we can do is control our life to become a better one. in one accident sentence in China " if you cannot clean your own room, you never able to rule the whole country".

Student

I think that helping people in the best way that we can is one of the best things we can do as humans, a part of that is helping animals who cannot help themselves. I have spent a lot of time volunteering in animal shelters and helping street dogs in Turkey. Recently, I have not been able to help as much as I would like to because of my demanding work and school schedule, however, I know that a lot of animals at sea like fish, dolphins, turtles, and even birds like seagulls are affected by our waste and our lack of responsibility for our own things that we throw away. I work part-time as a bartender and also in the service industry at a hotel, and a lot of the time people do not realise when they throw things away such as the plastic wrap around beer or soda cans gets stuck around animals necks or in their mouths. So at the end of my shift wherever I am working I double check a lot of the trash cans and recycling bins to make sure that everything is in the correct place. Specifically at the bar I work at, some of my co-workers forget and just throw away those plastic rings around the cans so I go around and collect them all and make sure that I cut them in the correct way to make sure they are at less risk of being caught around animals necks. I feel like one person can have a large impact on the things around us and by paying attention to these things can really make the difference in other peoples' lives as well as the animals we love and care for in our oceans. 

I included this image so that if you work or are near anywhere where these things are common you all know how to cut them and maybe save an animals life. 

Student

I feel that I am making an impact by continuing to be involved with getting high school kids accepted into college. Growing up, I was a part of a program (Upward Bound) that helped me to become confident and helped me to believe in myself enough to apply to college and to push through to graduate and keep high grades. Currently I work for the program they have here at MSU and this has been one of my best experiences. I am able to work hand and hand with the director of the program to make things easier on the students in terms of getting them the help they need to not only be successful in high school, but to also be prepared for college. Programs like this are what drive me to work so hard. Seeing the faces of each student when they graduate and looking at all of their accomplishments is more than rewarding. These are students that are minorities and that do not necesarily have the means or resources to everything they need in terms of being successful in school and I plan to do everything I can to help as many students as possible.

Student

I think it's the little things that help change the world and make it better. Every day when I smile at a stranger or compliment a girl on the way she dresses, I'm helping make it a little brighter. One day I'll hopefully have the power to make an impact on a global scale, but for now, I don't have the necessary things to accomplish that. So, until then I'm just going to do my best. I'm going to save the stray kitten I found at my neighbor's house that was sitting in the rain, I'm going to tell my niece she's amazing and beautiful and capable of anything. I'm going to do the right thing and the only thing I know how to do and be kind and settle for the little things. 

Student

I feel I make an impact through my work as a Leasing Agent. I enjoy helping students my age find housing in their budget. It's not easy, East Lansing's housing market can be pretty outrageous. However by keeping my leads informed on our latest specials I do my best to get them a decent place to live at a somewhat reasonable price.

Student

The company I work for is dedicated to helping local business owners fulfill their dreams. Supporting local businesses is important. The owners are invested in the communities they live in and they keep their profits within it. Large corporations extract wealth from small communities and take it back to where they are headquartered and they work with other large corporations, whereas small businesses work with the local accountant and advertise locally rather than spending billions on tv campaigns. There is an interesting book called Big-Box Swindel by Stacy Mitchell which exposes the costs of large retailers like Home Depot, Walmart, Target, etc. My goal is to invest my time and energy into things that are a net benefit to society. 

Student

I feel I am making an impact by simply staying involved in my community, whether it be at MSU or in my homewotn of Indianapolis. For the past three I have been an active E-Board member of Curlfriends, a student organization focuses on the education of healthy, natural hair while building an inclusive environment. Within this organization, we have made progression at MSU by creating a mutual space for women who may not feel as comfortable embracing their natural hair to come and just be themselves. I am also a proud member Black Student Alliance, Black Media Entertainment, and African American Celebratory. As a member of all of these organizations, I have been active in educating MSU students on the issues impacting the Black community as well as helping to support the success of Black students at the university. If I can inspire others to acknowledge and accept background that may differ from their own, I feel that I'm making a huge impact already. 

Besides being a part of students organizations on campus, I also stay actively involved in community service events and projects. Coming to MSU as an out-of-state student and a minority, beginning my freshman year I made a conscious effort to connect with as many students as I could and create that sense of community and connectivity that I've always wanted to gain out of my college experience. I attended events and volunteer opportunities around State where I made valuable friendships with many students that I probably would have never approached otherwise. For example, my first year at State I decided to volunteer for the Homecoming Parade. During this time, I met my friend Yunyi, a international graduate student from China. After we finished volunteering that night, we had dinner together and even attended a hockey game the following weekend. Considering that we did not know each other prior to volunteering and had clearly came from two different backgrounds, it was a great experience to be able to connect with Yunyi on that friendship level. Being exposed to the diversity that State has to offer early on in my college career made me so much more open to getting involved in programs. Now, I make a habit of volunteering for the Homecoming Parade every year just to meet new people and positively impact our campus through servicing the community. 

 

Student

I am really a person that don’t like to sit at home, full fill life with studying, video games and sleeping. I really like to do something during my college times. I really want to do something that can make an impact, so I start a non-profit auto club, that can gather all car guys and car fans to have fun, we had done car meet downtown for everyone to share their experience with their car and their car knowledge, and even their own car modification experience. Also we even had started track day for every body to bring their own car and race on a racetrack to feel the power and fun of high performance driving, and it is much safer to race illegally. I stared my auto club with my partner in this summer and now we have organized two auto relative events and have around 50 auto fans joined us.

In this experience I really gain a lot, I developed my communication skills with different kind of people, and I learned a lot of knowledge that I didn’t know about cars before, and I think that is the most important thing I get from starting my auto club because I really like cars, and in the future I like to be in the automotive industry for my career. I also much better on doing things with pressure, because there is so many things to care about specially in an event, I and my partner have to do everything without a signal mistake. It really improve my skills to make myself successful in my future career.

Student

As someone who is a bit unexperienced and just trying to make it through school, I found the easiest and most consistent way to impact what’s around me is becoming a vegetarian. I am now slowly transitioning to vegan, which is exciting, progressive, and gives me something to work towards each month as I give up new things. I am working on this because I want to live violence-free and not harm animals.

            Beyond ethical reasons, starting down this path helps the planet and other humans as well. Meat takes way more water to produce than other plant-based options. Animal agriculture also released greenhouse gases. I’m soon hoping to stop eating fish – some fishing methods destroy the ocean’s natural habitat.

            Along with this, I’m trying to reduce my waste and use more sustainable materials in life. These things are as simple as reusable shopping bags or buying those big reusable straws to keep on you. Sometimes I take jars to Foods for Living and buy food (nuts, dried fruits) in bulk.

            Overall, I believe making an impact in the world starts with your most basic behaviors and habits. What you do at home sets the tone for what you accomplish outside of it – and helping the planet will make being outside of it that much better. This particular lifestyle has helped me see a new appreciation for other creatures, and also challenges me to do what is right every corner I turn. The best part is you can start really small.

Student

The only way I can say I probably make much of a significant impact is through my work with charities. Since going back to college I haven't had as much time to work with them as I used to, but I still try to pitch in when I can. The charities I am most fond of working with are The Humane Society and Doctors Without Borders. Though I'm a glorified janitors for The Humane Society its still a job that is in key demand and, beyond that the animals need attention in order to stay sociable and able to be adopted. Being locked into small cages is necessary in order to keep them safe and save on space, but it does get them pent up and being able to take them out and exercise them does a lot for their health. 

For Doctors Without Borders I work more on the fundraising side through a company that hosts a live stream week long marathon to raise money for them. As a volunteer I mostly help raise awareness and provide content for the event when possible, but though those jobs are meager compared to some others they do still add up in the large scheme of things. Through my involvement specifically last time I was able to contribute my section of the live stream raised three thousand dollars that were specific to what Iu was doing. While thats a drop in the bucket of the two or three million that is eventually raised, its still a few thousand that may not have been raised if I had not been there. On Doctors Without Borders behalf we are the biggest fund raising event of the year for them, and the representatives they send are always extremely grateful for our work. 

Beyond those two I try to get out to the food bank through my normal job when they send parties out to work there. We mostly sort food and package it for delivery to different distribution centers. Basically manual labor, but for a good cause.

That's basically all I've got, though I feel proud enough about those few things to brag about them I suppose. Charity work is always super rewarding and is part of the reason I hope one day to work full time for one.  

Student

Throughout my time at MSU, some of the ways I have made an impact is through mental health advocacy. I devote my spare time to organizations such as MSU's Project LETS and Soul Sisters Creations. Project LETS is an inclusive group who aims to create a safe environment for those with mental illnesses through peer support and advocacy services. The best part? It's all run by others with mental illness(es)! 

Soul Sisters Creations and Vintage Earth, a vintage / antique resale shop, donates half of its proceeds to Gentle Strength Counseling Center in Brighton, MI, for patients and families who otherwise would not be able to afford essential mental health services. 

Furthermore, this summer I am investigating ways in which I can live a more sustainable lifestyle. A couple weeks ago, I made organic deodorant in a repurposed jar. The examples above are just the beginning of how I am making a difference.  

Student

One way that I personally feel I make an impact is through my job. Although I am enrolled in 19 credits this summer and finding the time to work is difficult, I currently work as a recruiter for a small company that helps small/medium sized businesses hire their employees. I have found this job to be rewarding in many ways besides the money I earn from it. One of the most valuable things I've found is that I am able to help people with one of their most important decisions, finding a job. Through serving as an intermediary between a company and a candidate, I'm able to give that person a better chance of getting employed and finding their dream job. 

Student

One moment of making a difference that occured recently happened during my intership at the Lansing Lugnuts. One game, a Thirsty Thursday promotional night, me and a couple other interns had to climb onto the dugout to toss out free promotional items to fans. As we were waiting to throw out the items, a couple fans, a woman and her young child began to talk to me as we sat on the dugout. They commented on how they were enjoying the game, utilizing the tickets they had won, but that the college-aged fans behind them were getting too into the Thirsty Thursday activities. 

Understanding their frustrations, I continued to talk with them thoughout the game, even after our promotional toss was over, making them feel welcomed. Later in the game, we had to hand out another free item to fans. This time I made it a point to give the woman's child one of the free items. As I walked up to them, I voiced that I wanted to make sure they got one of the items that we were passing out and that I hope they enjoyed their time at the game. Both, the child and the woman were so thankful and appreciative that I went out of my way to make sure they had a great night of baseball they were excited to come back. 

Doing something as simple as my job, but going futher to make connections to fans, not only wamred by heart, but made a difference for one fan's night. It may have been only a small impact, but sometimes that is all it takes to make a diffence. 

Derek Mehraban's picture
Instructor
6/4/2018