USING BUSINESS SKILLS TO ADDRESS SOCIAL ISSUES
BY RIANA KATZ
RAMAPO COLLEGE '20, BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION: MARKETING WITH A MINOR IN WOMEN AND GENDER STUDIES
My name is Riana and I am a senior Business Administration: Marketing with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. I am an active member of Ramapo’s Enactus team. Enactus, standing for entrepreneurial - action - us, is an international collegiate organization whose vision is to create a better, more sustainable world. Enactus is dedicated to creating a better world while developing the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders and social innovators. I have held several positions over my four-year tenure including President, Vice President of Administration, and Project Manager.
This past year, I had the opportunity to co-lead the S.H.O.E. (Students Helping Other Entrepreneurs) Drive Project. Our team completed a needs assessment and an estimated 300 million pairs of shoes go into America’s landfills every year. Unwanted shoes may take decades to disintegrate and are hazardous to life and the planet. And, the majority of these shoes can still be worn. Astonishingly, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development, the number of children around the world who have never owned a pair of shoes also equals 300 million. In fact, it's one of the primary benchmarks the agency uses to denote "abject poverty," the most severe level of poverty on USAID's scale. Our team saw this as an opportunity to make a difference combatting both poverty and sustainability.
Our team paired with Funds2Orgs, a for-profit social enterprise, to introduce our S.H.O.E (Students Helping Other Entrepreneurs) Project. The partnership allowed us to raise money for our club while collecting shoes for developing countries. Instead of these shoes laying in landfills, they became inventory and an economic lifeline for micro entrepreneurs in developing nations. They cleaned, repaired, and repurposed the shoes to sell them for a fraction of their original price and for a profit. The micro-enterprise industry represents one of the most effective ways to lift families out of extreme poverty in devastated economies. Funds2Orgs gave us money for every pound of shoes we donated.
We developed a business plan to create a community-wide shoe drive. We used social media as as our main channel for advertising. In order to get our peers involved, we developed the ShoeBassador Program which partnered with Greek Organizations on campus. We collected over 1200 pairs of shoes, raising over $200 in revenue to help sustain our other entrepreneurial projects. Our collected shoes were transformed into inventory for micro-entrepreneurs creating an economic prosperity for several communities
This project was an innovative way to aid systematic social issues. Our team was able to become change makers -- creating a sustainable impact for global entrepreneurs, communities, and the environment. Enactus has given me a platform to not only impact the community, but also build my network. The organization is partnered with Fortune 500 companies from around the globe. I was recruited for my first internship at Automatic Data Processing (ADP) at an Enactus Competition. In addition to networking within the designated partner companies, Enactus also prepared me with the skills necessary to get my second internship and job for after graduation at Commvault, the leading provider of data management. Enactus showed me the power of ideation while teaching me project management and communication tools.
Ramapo's Enactus team
According to Riana, her four-year tenure with Enactus directly led to two internships and a job after graduation.