Fairground of Ideas and Dreams

October 14, 2018 | Christos-Stavros Konstantopoulos

Freshers’ fair! I still remember what it felt like to go as a fresher. Excitement, confusion, opportunities! And, of course, free pizza. But this time I was not going as a fresher. This time I would be one of the people behind the desks, promoting BfE. 

The fair, as always, was full of life; freshers came, freshers went, searching for the occasional stall that would catch their eye. Sign-ups left and right; just how many will turn into lasting commitments, only time will tell. 

Arriving for the 12:00-14:00 slot on both the 2nd and the 3rd October, I was excited to be the person that would help set a curious fresher on the fascinating journey of BfE. We did our best: smiling, saying the occasional friendly “hello!” to the passerby, answering questions. At one point, some of us went to the queue forming outside the marquee, approaching people to ask if they were interested in our organisation. 

Our enthusiasm was not without reward. All in all, more than 300 students – not all of them freshers – signed up to our mailing list. This is really exciting, especially given that many of the people approaching us were already interested in social entrepreneurship and were motivated by our vision. This week’s interviews will help us to manage this flow, and will hopefully mark the beginning of an inspiring experience. 

While behind the stall, I could not help but look around at the other societies present. I tried to put myself in a fresher’s shoes, and think: which one would I pick? Looking back on this question, I think it is not a matter of more and less valuable societies. Each society does its part and responds to specific aspirations, desires and needs. And in the end, this is what made the interest shown for BfE so rewarding. The fact that over 300 students decided that, of all the societies represented at the fair, BfE was one that was worth being part of. 

The vision of combining a passion for social impact with a drive for a corporate career is, I believe, what truly makes BfE so appealing. it is surprising how many people – including myself, before joining BfE – think that the two are essentially antithetical, or in any case cannot be combined, and can thus be self-trapped into abandoning one of the two. I do not want to overgeneralise, but I do believe that our generation has a thirst for making a social impact, and is looking for ways to reconcile these desires with career ambitions. 

It is sensible to start having an impact by one good deed a day. But supporting social entrepreneurs allows you to reach further, towards more targeted and sustainable change. It will enable bold and aspiring individuals to develop ways of supporting their communities and solving their problems. And it will give you a sense of the various practical problems that the entrepreneurs and the communities have to face.  

To all the excited faces I saw at the freshers’ fair, I wish you the best of luck. And I hope that you will reach beyond the routine, and choose to be change-makers.