Social enterprises: get involved at university
Studying for your degree doesn’t have to be your sole focus at university. In fact, there are lots of extracurricular activities that you can get involved in to socialise, learn new skills, and bulk up your CV with valuable work experience while you’re at it.
A great example of this is an entrepreneurial competition hosted by Enactus – a not-for-profit organisation. It helps students develop business skills and improve the world through social enterprise projects. This year, a group of University of East Anglia (UEA) students won two national social enterprise awards for their projects.
We spoke to five of those UEA students and INTO UEA alumni about their time with INTO and their experiences in team Enactus UEA.
What is Enactus?
“Enactus stands for Entrepreneurial Action and we basically create a social enterprise that will impact other people’s lives. A lot of my friends were in Enactus, so I just wanted to help them with whatever they might need. Our project, ‘Pawject’, is unique as it targets only the homeless and their pets. It was really inspiring for us and we wanted to do more to help. It’s not typical teamwork – we’re not from the same course or year, so I learnt how to work with other people.”
Why INTO UEA and UEA?
“I chose UEA for the ranking and its affiliation to Norwich Research Park. I want to do research in the future, so I thought that this affiliation would be useful. The connection to the University meant that I wanted to come to INTO UEA.”
Simon completed an International Foundation in Pharmacy, Health and Life Sciences at INTO UEA and is now studying Pharmacy at UEA.
How did you get involved in Enactus?
“I heard about Enactus from the society fair. I’d always wanted to do volunteering to give something back to society. My project, ‘Budget Bites’, is about food waste – something that we don’t think about but can have a big impact on people’s lives. We really expanded our network and gained professional skills that are valuable in working life.”
What do you think of your time at INTO UEA?
“I loved INTO. I met a lot of great friends there. Most of them are from Asia, which is my home continent, so I feel like I’m at home. We have similar tastes in food and speak the same language. So, sometimes I speak English and sometimes I speak to my friends in my own language. It helps me feel at home.”
Joviani completed an International Year One in Business Management and Economics at INTO UEA and has recently graduated from UEA with a Finance and Management degree.
What role did you take on in Enactus UEA?
“I didn’t know much about Enactus until Joviani introduced me in greater detail about the idea. I ended up getting the role of project leader for ‘Pawject’. It’s basically making recycled dog beds to help homeless dogs in Norwich and provide a stable income for the homeless. UEA has given me the opportunity to experience business management for myself through Enactus and other societies.”
What did INTO UEA do for you?
“At INTO, you feel like you’re home because you’re surrounded by people you’re familiar with which is nice. For international students who go abroad, you can feel a sense of homesickness. It’s good to be surrounded by something you feel comfortable with.”
Brandon completed an International Year One in Business Management and Economics at INTO UEA and has recently graduated from UEA with a Finance and Management degree.
Why did you join Enactus UEA and what did you do?
“I joined Enactus because my friends kept encouraging me and I realised that I could actually help. With ‘Pawject’, we try to provide skills for the homeless so that later they may use them to apply for jobs. Their idea was to stitch dog beds and I have some knowledge about crocheting, so I knew I could definitely help. It helped me gain confidence because I wasn’t only talking to the beneficiary, but I was also teaching my group how to do things.”
How did INTO UEA help you prepare for university?
“I’m from a city that doesn’t generally speak English, so for me, I could start practising my English at INTO. It felt more comfortable when I progressed to UEA.”
Tracy completed an International Foundation in Pharmacy, Health and Life Sciences at INTO UEA and is now studying Pharmacy at UEA.
How did you join Enactus UEA?
“I remember going to an international night and the President of the society was promoting Enactus. He explained that we were partnered with companies such as KPMG and that it could improve my CV. It really caught my attention. The project I was in ultimately didn’t succeed, but we learnt a lot on the way. Also, the team continued with Enactus, so it was never wasted. Next year, we hope to build on ‘Pawject’ and we have plans to scale up, for sure.”
How did you find INTO UEA?
“INTO gave me so many options. The course and the teachers were amazing, and I ended up becoming a student representative for my class. I communicated with many people, and I got to be part of a panel in the institutional review. Everyone listened to me which allowed me to raise any concerns and opinions I had. This helped me when I joined societies. INTO is a very supportive environment.”
Kieya completed an International Foundation in Pharmacy, Health and Life Sciences at INTO UEA and is now studying Environmental Science at UEA.
Whilst you’re getting used to the new surroundings and settling in at your new INTO centre, it’s a great idea to get involved with extracurricular activities. Jovi and Brendan did exactly this and took part in an entrepreneurial competition hosted by @enactus – a not-for-profit organisation that helps students develop business skills and improve the world through social enterprise projects. The team from @intouea and@uniofeastanglia won two national social enterprise awards for their projects. #INTOUEA #UEA #INTOStudy #challenge #challengeyourself #socialenterprise #enterprise #societies #university #universitychallenge #Enactus #college #student #uni #campus #students #study #studying #studentlife #UEA #EastAnglia
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