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Creating Real Value: Celebrating the Launch of Social Impact Week at Yale SOM

Net Impact Club Co-Chair Maya Berkman ’23 looks back at Yale SOM’s inaugural Social Impact Week and this year’s theme, “Creating Real Value.”  

Social Impact Week 2022 kicked off on February 28 with a focus on “Creating Real Value.” The first of its kind at Yale SOM, the week was sponsored by the Net Impact club and filled with social impact programming in partnership with many of SOM’s mission-driven clubs. 

Screenshot of Judy Samuelson
two people in a hallway surrounded by clothing
person browsing rack of clothes
Pictured, from left: Judy Samuelson ’82 during a Zoom discussion; members of the SOM community support the clothing swap run by the Sustainability Club

The week kicked off with an inspiring conversation with Judy Samuelson ’82, founder and executive director of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, discussing her remarkable career and new book, The Six New Rules of Business: Creating Real Value in a Changing World. Samuelson’s session offered the perfect Social Impact Week introduction. She pushed participants to recognize corporations as an element of necessary social change. Samuelson discussed how business leaders today must consider the full picture of diverse inputs to the enterprise and take steps to embrace the reality of the corporation as an integrated part of society. Her presentation concluded with a reminder that there is no finish line when it comes to social impact work. In her words, “Sustainability is not a destination; it is a way of thinking.” 

On Tuesday, the Net Impact team set up an “Ask Me Anything” table in Evans Hall. Students responded to the prompt “How do you create real value at Yale SOM and beyond?” by writing down their own impact passions and areas of expertise. Featured in an Instagram takeover, their stories covered areas of interest including sustainable transportation, civic technology, medicine, community building, women’s health, and much more. You can find some of those highlights here.

Other Social Impact Week events included a HireSOM session hosted by the Career Development Office highlighting social impact internships and jobs, a Brews & Views event on critical race theory and curriculum censorship by the Business & Politics and Education clubs, a clothing swap run by the Sustainability Committee, a session called “Bringing Impact into the Banking Space” hosted by Net Impact, and much more.  

While the SOM community regularly considers what it means to lead at the intersection of business and society, it was inspiring to see Evans Hall buzzing with conversation and enthusiasm in a full week dedicated to celebrating impact. The Net Impact leadership team hopes to establish Social Impact Week as an annual tradition for years to come. We hope to see you there next year!