EcoInterview ~ University of Oregon Net Impact Founders

On 4/25/13 I interviewed University of Oregon Net Impact Co-Founders Garrett Dunlavey and Ryan Seo. They are super busy getting ready for this very cool conference coming up on May 2 in Portland titled The Future of Sustainable Business.


U of O Net Impact team changing the world for the greater good!

 1. What is Net Impact?

Net Impact is a Non-profit organization that attempts to solve worldly challenges through the power of business. Our headquarters is in San Francisco, but there are hundreds of chapters all over the world: undergraduate, graduate, professional, and corporate. Our chapter at the University of Oregon aims to educate, collaborate with, and positively influence both the campus and local community within the triple bottom line: Profit, Planet, and People.

2. What motivated you to start it and how do you see it impacted your future career? 

As it turns out, we both met in the International Business and Economics Club after finding out that there was no sustainable business group on campus. Since we felt like something was missing, we decided it was time to change that and started creating the organization.

3. What is the most valuable thing you have learned by being part of Net Impact?

I don’t imagine many undergraduates are able to gain very much experience running a non-profit organization. Plus, without any way of paying working members we had to rely exclusively on motivation, passion, and encouragement. While chiché, we truly had to learn to revere a much less familiar set of values than what business school alone will teach.

Additionally, we learned the importance in observing and allocating work exclusively by someone’s strengths and interests. In that way campaigns are not only done more quickly and effectively, but it is also preferable to those that work under this strategy.

4. Tell us about the SPRNG Conference on May 2 in PDX

SPRNG (Sustainable Practices Raising Net Growth) is a student-driven conference that is put on by the UO Net Impact chapter. We’re trying to enhance the shared network of professionals to help catalyze collaboration towards sustainable ends. From policy to consulting to development, our three speakers and five panelists are all coming from all different backgrounds to address the role collaboration plays. Moving forward, it is apparent that progress will require sectors to team up towards the triple bottom line.

5. The challenges on EcoApprentice encourage experiential learning (by doing), what types of career/work experiences are Net Impact students most interested in?

Students from just about every discipline join with the intent on doing something “real.” While in college, everyone is deciding what roles they want to play in the world and by the time they come to Net Impact they have felt a call to do something more than just earn grades. I think as long as they feel that they are working on something tangible and they are happy. Our role is simply to help them harness that passion and energy.

© 2013, Richard Halpern. All rights reserved.

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