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Service learning: Cultivating entrepreneurs and creating change
A single student can make a huge impact given the tools, opportunities, and guidance to do so. Entrepreneurship major Chad Fogg knows well the truth of this statement.
Fogg is engaged in Arizona State University’s University Service Learning Program, which offers courses (USL 210, 402 and 410) designed to encourage students to apply academic knowledge and skills to best serve communities in need. In USL 410, students complete 100 hours of service and attend weekly seminars to make connections between their community work, course curriculum and future career goals.
As a USL 410 student this past semester, Fogg managed a $75,000 grant provided to the United Food Bank by Target to develop a new food pantry at Lincoln Elementary School. Fogg selected the United Food Bank from a list of approximately 120 community organizations that work with ASU’S Service Learning Program each year.
“I have become passionate about helping those in need of food security,” said Fogg, reflecting on the personal impact of his service learning experience. Fogg coordinates the processing of donations of equipment and supplies for the pantry and the purchase of foods such as fresh produce and breads.
Fogg’s passion stems from the magnitude of Arizona’s hunger problem. In Maricopa County alone, over 10 percent of people live in poverty, and 37 percent of those people are children under age 18.
To solve a problem this big, Fogg relies on volunteers. For one particular food drive, he recruited the support of the sixty members of his Lamba Chi Alpha fraternity. Thanks to Fogg’s leadership, the fraternity collected over 1,700 pounds of food and assembled over 100 emergency food kits for local families.
Creating a sustainable food pantry from the bottom up taught Fogg invaluable lessons about entrepreneurship. “Every step along the way has been related to the process I will be encountering while starting my own businesses in the near future,” Fogg said.
Fogg originally saw enrolling in the service learning course as a “good deed,” but engaging in service has given him new insight to the type of entrepreneur he would like to become.
“I will have a different mindset towards helping resolve hunger in my surrounding communities for the rest of my life,” Fogg said. “I will also always bring a mindset of social responsibility into every business, service, or product I am a part of.”
"Service learning helps students recognize unmet community needs and teaches them how to take realistic action towards social change to create a better future," said Deb Ball, instructor of Fogg’s USL 410 course and manager of the University Service Learning Program.
"Service learning provides a natural bridge for social entrepreneurship opportunities for students," Ball added. Ball’s students often seek ways to tie service to their careers.
For Fogg, focusing on service and social good is the only thing that makes sense. He shared his belief that social entrepreneurship is a challenging but critical field to pursue and that he will always take the social impact of his work into account.
These sentiments are felt by a growing number of ASU students. Increasingly, the university is offering courses that focus specifically on social entrepreneurship. In the spring semester, new social entrepreneurship courses will be offered in the School of Social Transformation, as well as in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.
“Financial success is an obvious motivator for all entrepreneurs, but the satisfaction of having a positive social impact can be just as rewarding,” Fogg said.
Service learning has turned him more toward this path.
“I never expected to have a single class make such a significant impact,” said Fogg. “I would strongly encourage every student at Arizona State participate in the program.”
Submitted by Audrey Iffert, Entrepreneurship Catalyst, Office of University Initiatives