By Madison Akers
For The Diamondback
The University of Maryland's public policy school will introduce a new minor focusing on local and global issues and ways for students to create social change.
The minor, known as nonprofit leadership and social innovation, will begin in spring 2018 and is currently open for enrollment, said Robert Grimm, director of this university's Do Good Institute and a professor in the public policy school. Students of all majors are able to participate in the minor, which also aligns with the university's Do Good effort.
The institute, which is through the public policy school, motivates students through education, philanthropy and social entrepreneurship to promote innovation and advocacy within their communities and throughout the world.
Students participating in the new minor will examine and discuss issues affecting the local and global community in an effort to promote advocacy.
"The truth of the matter is, it is not easy to do good without the right skills and education that is necessary to really make a big impact," Grimm said. "The minor is a big part of growing our Do Good campus by providing students with the five courses that will allow them to make an impact no matter what cause they're passionate about."
Grimm will also teach an introductory course within the new minor, which will consist of three required courses and two electives.
"What's exciting about this minor is that we have students on the campus who have achieved a lot through the Do Good effort and regularly have only had the opportunity to take one or two courses within this area," he said.
Every course within the minor will include a hands-on-learning element, Grimm added. Some students like senior Blossom Ojukwu, a music education and vocal performance double major, are already actively involved through the Do Good Institute.
Ojukwu got involved in the Do Good initiative by promoting a nonprofit organization known as the Love Blanket Project. The organization creates blankets out of donated T-shirts and provides them to local hospitals.
This minor will get students more involved in the community, Ojukwu said, and show they're able to make a difference.
"When students come to the university, they want to get involved because the Do Good initiative has shaped our campus that way, so this new minor is going to be exceptional in allowing students to do good in our community and worldwide," Ojukwu said. "Through the minor, students will realize that what they do actually matters for the next generation to come."
More specifically, Grimm said the course would provide invaluable hands-on-learning experiences, especially in philanthropy.
"If you take a course on philanthropy, you will actually have the opportunity to run a philanthropic investment fund. If you are working on designing a project, it is not just about the design, but also the implementation aspect," Grimm said.
Bruce Levenson, council member of the Do Good Council, said he believes this minor will eventually become the most popular program on campus.
"First, we wanted to create a curriculum that would provide the tools necessary for the next generation of nonprofit leaders to be successful," Levenson said. "Secondly, through the courses and experiences, try to motivate as many University of Maryland students to go back in their communities and do good."