Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
With a vibrant community, professors who inspire, and the hands-on experience you need to dive into your field with confidence.
Journalists want to stay on top of a story, not be the focus. It’s hard not to take notice of up-and-comer Aaron Edwards, though.
The senior journalism major at Ithaca College has interned with some of the biggest names in the business, but it all started by signing up to write for IC’s nationally-recognized student paper, the Ithacan. Three weeks later, his first article was published, but not without a lot of work.
“When I filed my first story during freshman year, my editor sat me down, politely told me that it was a hot mess, and worked with me for hours to fine tune it,” he says.
Aaron’s experiences at IC set the stage for his internship with CBS, where he conducted preliminary interviews for the Evening News with Katie Couric; for his stint with the New York Times Institute, where he reported about the impact of the Gulf oil spill on coastal towns; and for an internship with the Associated Press bureau in London, where he interviewed Jesse Eisenberg and other celebrities, covered protests, and worked on the field team covering the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Now Aaron’s bringing all his real-world experience back to The Ithacan’s top post as editor-in-chief. And he’s ready for life after IC with a competitive job waiting at the New York Times as one of four James Reston Reporting Fellows.
“I’m reassured because I put in the time, and the hours of work at school. I feel like I’ve set myself up for early success after I graduate,” he says.
>> More on this story: The Ithacan
I entered Ithaca College having no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Then Jeff Furman—an Ithaca local known as “the ampersand” at the famous ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s—spoke in one of my classes. He talked about Ben & Jerry’s and an amazing way of doing business that I had never heard of before. I became inspired and engulfed in the way Ben & Jerry’s does business, in their philosophy on giving back to the community and in their belief that businesses don’t have to be run solely based on making a profit. It was then I decided, “I want to be a part of this.”
For four years after graduating, I worked at the Ben & Jerry’s headquarters in Vermont. I became half of a two-person team and the company’s official “PR chick,” working with the integrated marketing and social mission teams. Often other companies would turn to us to find out how Ben & Jerry’s is so successful at being such a “good” company. That’s when I realized that there were few resources available to help for-profit companies looking to embrace corporate social and environmental responsibility.
Being exposed to Jeff Furman’s business philosophy, studying so many different types of companies while at Ithaca College, and experiencing values-led business at Ben & Jerry’s, I realized my passion for this kind of work. I want to see every single company in the world doing business in a responsible way, in a way that isn’t hurting people, continuing the poverty cycle, or harming the environment but proactively improving local and global communities.
That’s why I started Socially Good Business, a firm dedicated to helping companies incorporate values into their sustainable business models and consumer communication campaigns. My company also helps nonprofits partner with for-profits by creating proposals and packaged ideas that for-profits can use to engage consumers and enhance the company’s efforts toward social responsibility. This is the next generation of business, an evolution of society, and this movement is just starting to rev up. There are only a few other companies like mine in the country. My experience at Ithaca gave me the knowledge and confidence I needed to get a job at one of the most beloved global brands in the world—the very company that pioneered this movement—and that’s what gives my company an edge over the competition.
Consumers are starting to demand that companies do business in a different way, in a way that respects the planet and the people on it. Companies are seeing a demand for this better business model and are starting to change. But a lot of them don’t know how—and that’s what Socially Good Business is here for.
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