What is positive social impact, and why should you care?

“It’s basically a buzz word”


Positive social impact, despite sounding like a bit of jargon, can actually help pretty much every student get experience and confidence, either during or just after university.

When I first came to university, I hadn’t even heard of social enterprise, and, whilst I was familiar with the concept of positive social impact, I had never considered a business model (i.e. working at a profit) could be used to achieve the same, if not better, results compared to a charity.

fishontoast

My first direct experience of creating a positive social impact at university was actually though a UOSM module (UOSM2022) that is available to all years of study. In this module, I worked as part of a team to set up a company that was focused on helping students shift unwanted furniture/food before summer, and giving it back to the community via donations of a large proportion of our collected stock. It quickly became apparent that not only could our idea have genuine success, so too could the other teams that were taking part – it was evident that making money in order to help others needn’t be as hard as everyone assumes.

Positive social impact can be achieved in a variety of ways – be it through a corporate role or responsibility, a charity event, or a successful social enterprise. It’s basically a buzz word for improving a community for its families and individuals. Whether you’re interested in volunteering, working as part of a large organisation, or setting up your own business, there are multiple ways to have a social impact. There’s actually a conference going on at the uni campus on Saturday 28th November which will go into more detail and provide a great networking event; follow the link at bottom of the article for tickets and more information!

So what does this have to do with the cast majority of students in the UK? Social impact schemes offer brilliant opportunities for experience in pretty much every career path you want to take. From Accounting to Zoology, if you have an interest in creating a positive social impact, whilst working to make money as you would in any ‘normal’ business, your degree and experience will be of relevance to either a social enterprise, or a corporation looking to improve their impact on those in need! The point is, don’t let yourself settle for a one-dimensional desk job if you have a passion for working to benefit communities.

If creating a start-up business or any of the above is of interest to you, I can’t recommend the UOSM module highly enough – I had a great time on the module, and at the end of it you get a chance to pitch for real funding; so if your team and their idea is good enough, you could even bag yourself a route for post-graduation!

In terms of what you can do to get involved right now, check out the conference on the 28th. Xavier Parkhouse Parker (Co-President of Fish on Toast – the uni’s entrepreneurship and business society) explains the conference will “inspire students to pursue positive social impact, while opening the pathways to help create and achieve it straight out of university”. Currently tickets are on sale for £6 for the whole day, with the possibility of food being provided – however, if you use the discount code ‘Millennium’, you can get a 10% discount right away between now and next Monday! The tickets can be purchased here – don’t forget that discount code!

Alternatively, I’ll be on campus today (Wednesday 11th) selling as part of Southampton’s exciting ‘Student Apprentice’ Competition, so feel free to come chat to me if you’d like more information, or to buy a delicious cupcake!