Students brought the Lehigh University Social Impact Collaborative, or LUSIC, to campus to provide undergraduates with hands-on experience in social impact.
LUSIC is Lehigh’s chapter of Net Impact, an international leadership acceleration organization that seeks to inspire and help emerging leaders build a more just and sustainable world.
Audrey Schimmel, ’20, the president of the initiative, said her motivating factor to bring a movement of this type to campus was her inability to find an existing one that allowed her to work within the social impact space while uniting the work of other clubs and organizations.
To start the group, Schimmel said she went to Net Impact’s “Start a Chapter” page and was put in touch with an adviser. She also had to apply through Student Senate and identify faculty advisers and executive board members for the club.
She said Mary Nicholas, a professor of Russian, and Bill Hunter, the director of fellowship advising and U.N. programs, are her major resources, outside of the students helping to drive the mission.
“A lot of other leading universities have similar program initiatives, so Lehigh is late to the party in terms of social collaboration,” Schimmel said. “If you were to look up social impact at (the Wharton School of Business at University of Pennsylvania) or Cornell, they already have existing similar programs. So, we wanted to be able to bring a program of this kind to Lehigh.”
Schimmel’s vision incorporates existing programs and clubs to create into the initiative. She said she has planned the foundation for the program and now aims to implement events, advertise the program to students and establish remaining details.
“The goal of the Lehigh University Social Impact Collaborate is to engage different organizations and groups on campus in relation to social impact and corporate responsibility as a whole,” Schimmel said. “We want to create an umbrella entity that provides students with unique opportunities within the social development space on Lehigh’s campus.”
In addition, the LUSIC executive board is in the process of solidifying its future goals, which include creating a website.
Chloe Radtke, ’20, the vice president and internal communications chair of LUSIC, said one of the group’s goals is to work in close liaison with various clubs and organizations, such as the Lehigh University – United Nations partnership, Global Citizens, UNICEF, Global Health Club and No Lost Generation.
Specifically, the Lehigh University – United Nations partnership provides Lehigh students with access to the world’s largest intergovernmental body since 2004, a resource the LUSIC is looking to use by “piggybacking” onto field trips to the U.N.
“It is not very known that Lehigh has non-governmental organization status at the United Nations,” Radtke said. “We have the ability to bring students there and we don’t capitalize on that opportunity enough.”
Isabel Kaplan, ’20, the vice president of marketing for LUSIC, said she organizes and coordinates marketing and social media efforts for the initiative.
“I was excited to get involved because it seems like it is an important space to incorporate into Lehigh’s community,” Kaplan said. “It’s been an interesting process, starting this initiative from the ground up… I’m looking forward to getting everything in order and beginning to implement this vision.”
Lindsay Shagrin also contributed to this article.