Annual Social Enterprise Symposium brings together social responsibility and business

Photo by Alicia Cherem

The Robert H. Smith School of Business hosted its annual Social Enterprise Symposium, in an effort to bring together students and companies to learn about the role of business in creating social, economic, and environmental change.

This year’s, theme was Markets Make Change, which Colin Nally ,a  student volunteer and coordinator, described as an underlying motivation for students to take responsibility to make profound social change. For the past few years, SES has taken  place at Stamp, but Nally says that this year, the committee really wanted to bring SES back to the business school and create more interaction with business students in general.

“We want to encourage the idea that businesses are now going to be the leaders in social impact,” Nally said. “Markets Make Change is almost like a direct response to the election, maybe the government might not be the leader anymore right now, but we can be cause we have the resources and we have the people that really care about these social issues and willing to fix them.”

The event took place on Wednesday from 12-5 p.m., with several keynote speaker such as  Shannon Schuyler, Chief Corporate Responsibility and Purpose Officer with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Sarela Herrada, Director of Food and Beverage at Cava, amongst others. The keynote speakers were then followed by several different themed breakout session and a networking reception at the end.

Megan Katz, a Smith Undergraduate and 2014 alumni, who is now an employee of Johnson and Johnson, attended SES when she was a student at the Smith Business school and was now able to bring it full circle and participate at a Johnson and Johnson table for Pre-networking during one of the sessions.

“I was curious to talk to students about what Johnson and Johnson promoted and does to keep the people engaged at work, as well as learn myself new things and be able to bring it back to the people that I work with everyday,” Katz said.

About 300 students attended the event this year, including seniors Britany Shapiro and Jessica Atkins, both of whom are non- Business majors, but were encouraged to attend the event by their professional writing professor.

“What we learned can be relatable to many things in life and can be applied to your own personal life and the choices that you make. Being an educated and informed consumer is extremely important, no matter what field you are going into,” Shapiro said.

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