“To have students use their unique abilities and talents to aid us in creating a plan of action to better our world” – this is one of the goals of the Students for Social Innovation. This small but mighty group knows how to use its largest asset: the passion and unique abilities of its members. Although SSI is one of the smallest clubs on campus, Evan Reinhold, the group’s leader, has been able to channel the talents and ingenuity of these committed students in the effort to make a real difference.
Evan Reinhold founded the organization SSI just last year. He says that “[he] intended to form this organization in order to create an atmosphere where individuals were accepting of various ideas and people of different backgrounds in order to have a discussion on how to best impact the world. The purpose was to give students the opportunity to use their skills and talents for the purpose of making the world a better place.”Upon attending a meeting, one notices that each member of the group actively participates, offering up their own visions and ideas.
As first semester starts, the group works together to decide on an issue to advocate for the year. The members pull their ideas together and vote on the years focus. Once the vote has been cast and they have a concentration, they set about to research and educate themselves on the issue. After having adequately gathered information, they form a plan to impact the community positively in light of their issue and then implement their plan in the form of a community service project.
Last year, the group focused on factory farming and health. Factory farming is the process of operating a farm as if it was a business which includes raising livestock in clustered and unsanitary conditions, as well as using large amounts of pesticides. In order to educate themselves on this issue, the members of SSI read the College Reads! novel Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, which investigates the dirty secrets in the factory farming industry and the cultural significance of food.
Second semester, the group organized a health fair centered on factory farming and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Various College of Charleston organizations were represented at the fair including the Psychology Club, Green C of C and Dining Services and local businesses such as Earthfare and Pet Helpers. School children came to the fair and learned a variety of healthy lifestyle habits including an introduction to yoga, and how to eat and play healthily.
SSI offers a volunteer experience perfect for those with a real passion and desire to impact their community. Because of the group’s small size, all members get to truly participate in the project. Also, the leaders of SSI urge its members to use their specific talents in order to further the group’s cause. This year, the club aims at holding a second health fair as well as working with the Charter for Compassion.
The passion and excitement in the members of SSI is contagious, and sitting in on one of their meetings, one can’t help but be swept up in the volunteering fervor. The Students for Social Innovation are an inspiring group of students that have proven that it only takes a small group to make a big impact.
SSI meets in Maybank 320 every Sunday from 3-4 p.m. Contact Evan Reinhold at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.