The global and community impact minor teaches students how to be a positive influence not only for the nonprofit, government, impact investing, and corporate social responsibility sectors but also for whatever professions students pursue. Through taking the 17 required credits offered by the Ballard Center for Social Impact, students learn ways to solve complex social problems and uplift their communities.
“We help students grow to understand and become involved in social impact by combining the skills we teach with those from students’ life experiences and chosen majors,” explains Steven Fox, managing director of the Ballard Center. “By learning from our mistakes and successes in helping others, we collectively learn to ‘Do Good. Better.’”
“The whole motto of the Ballard Center is a real thing,” says Natalie Kruitbosch, a pre-business student from Layton, Utah, who added the global and community impact minor in winter 2023.
Instead of simply teaching students what to do in specific situations, the global and community impact minor teaches students theories and principles, such as the social impact cycle. Oftentimes organizations try to solve problems based on perceived needs. In contrast, the social impact cycle teaches students to analyze problems from the perspective of those affected to determine what they really need. “These principles are the lens that we should view the entire world with,” Kruitbosch says.
“The reason I’m doing this minor is because I’m a business major,” Kruitbosch says. “The global and community impact minor is helping me work toward my goal of aiding businesses to become more effective doers of good in community and global issues.”
The minor helps students understand that doing good doesn’t always look like a big humanitarian trip once a year. Doing good can look like deeply researching a social problem, changing your worldview, supporting organizations in your community that are doing good, proposing social-problem-solving initiatives where you work, and more.
Jared Cruickshank, a student studying neuroscience from Guyana, added the minor in the spring of 2023. “The perspective that we are given to learn how to understand social problems and find solutions feels really natural. Taking these minor courses and being able to relate that to my personal life and my goals and ambitions is a good match,” Cruickshank says.
The minor has helped Cruickshank figure out how to plan his life around helping others. “One of my goals, besides becoming a doctor, is to run for president at home in Guyana,” Cruickshank says. “I believe I’ll be able to make the impact that is needed to bring about significant change through being in a position of power. Through the classes in this minor, I will get the background I need to eventually return home and start working on my goals.”
Cruickshank adds, “Having this experience to look at problems in a way that I might not have thought of before will be really useful for me.”
As students of any major prepare to do good in the world through this coursework, they learn how to serve in the way that Jesus Christ would. “By creating the global and community impact minor,” Fox says, “we took a great step forward in helping BYU students connect their faith in Jesus Christ with the skills needed to make a real difference in the world.”
“It’s all about Christlike humility—really understanding people, figuring out where they're at, and lifting them in a higher and holier way,” Kruitbosch says. “I think that's beautiful because that's exactly what Christ did.”
Written by Kacee Call