Helping local non-profits overcome challenges

By Erica Steinhoff, '16

When I first came to Ithaca, I was in awe of how many non-profit organizations there are in the area. And so, because I have always had a passion for working with organizations that are determined to do good, I began looking into which non-profit I wanted to work with. I pondered this for a while, yet I simply could not pick just one organization to spend my time with. Then, I learned of the on-campus student organization called 180 Degrees Consulting and I knew that I had to get involved.

180 Degrees Consulting is an international organization with chapters on different college campuses that are dedicated to helping non-profits and social enterprises overcome challenges that they are facing so that they can achieve a greater social impact. At Ithaca College, our chapter of 180 Degrees places dedicated and enthusiastic students in small groups to consult for a different local non-profit each semester. During my first semester, I consulted for the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. My fellow consultants and I worked with a representative from the organization to develop a strategic public relations plan through out the semester. After we pitched the suggestions to the President of the organization, she began implementing our suggestions right away.

So, after seeing how the students of Ithaca College could make a direct impact on the Ithaca community by helping these local organizations focus on their missions to do good, I was determined to help 180 Degrees grow. I realized that there are so many students on campus with the skills that are necessary to assist nonprofits in finding solutions to the issues that they currently face, so I applied to be a member of the Executive Board of the organization.

And as a second semester first-year student, I am now the Recruitment Director for the organization. My goal was to recruit a large number of qualified students with a passion for social change in order to make the organization grow. So, I began by making pitches to different classes that study topics such as social responsibility and ethical issues in order to reach students with a social conscience. After recruiting a record number of consultants, I have been able to work with the students throughout the semester to ensure that they are enjoying the work that they are doing and that they are benefitting from the experience just as the organizations are. This position has given me the power to let students know that they can make a difference and give back to the community that they are living in by utilizing the skills they are learning everyday in the classroom.

I firmly believe that all students who attend Ithaca College should desire to serve the community that they are living in during the four years that they spend at the College; however, I do not think that students can always find ways on their own to use their unique skill sets to do that and 180 Degrees provides that opportunity. I have been able to help the organization expand tremendously this year and my goal is for the organization to flourish even more in the years to come.


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