Being involved with FreshSight has exposed me to the expansive array of individuals and organisations working to improve the world we live in. Nevertheless, my news feed, lectures and debates at the pub are shrouded in negativity and cynicism. The seemingly never-ending stream of human suffering, climatic disasters and political uncertainty risks leading many to wonder: what is the point?
However, I have found myself overcome with hopefulness for the coming decade. Beginning my sixth semester with FreshSight I have been lucky enough to meet another group of engaged students that are eager to spend their time at university fostering meaningful change. Then, just last week, FreshSight was delighted to attend The Gathering in Glasgow, the biggest Third Sector event in the UK, where we were able to showcase our work, learn from inspiring entrepreneurs and meet some of the exciting people driving social change. Similarly, at the start of the year I was humbled to be invited to the British and Irish Council’s Social Inclusion Symposium in Birmingham. This event centred around social enterprises, bringing together key stakeholders to discuss how the government can introduce policy to support this growing movement and ensure that traditional business as usual is challenged. Thus, the start of my year has been characterised by an exciting energy that, if harnessed, promises to continue challenging dominant structures and unequal supply chains and push push social agendas to the forefront of all sectors.
There is a growing emphasis within the Third Sector on young people, who are described as the drivers of future change. However, I would like to challenge this. We cannot be confined to the future: we exist in the present as workers, consumers and (potential) changemakers.
I believe that our generation has the potential to bring a new purpose, drive and energy to the workplace. From my experience, there is an eagerness amongst students to have professional lives that are meaningful and impactful. Whilst I would always implore young people to consider careers within the Third Sector, many of us will enter corporate jobs. Within these, we must hold our employers accountable and demand that the working environment is a place that fosters our talent in meaningful ways. Diversity of experience, personality and background is critical to challenging the status quo and encouraging innovation that is socially responsible. Regardless of our age, we can and should take charge and think about what we want the future of our workplaces and professional lives to look like.
Rather than despairing at the state of the world today, I believe that we must consider what motivates us and gives us a purpose. We should use our time at university to be open-minded and explore different avenues, so that when we are thrown into the working world, we know what will encourage us to get out of bed every day. In the meantime, I recommend The Happy Broadcast to anybody that feels overwhelmed by the domination of negative narratives for a weekly dose of positive news!
– Hannah, Director of FreshSight