WXXI Local Stories
Thu November 20, 2008
When Doing Good Trumps the Bottomline
By Carlet Cleare
Rochester, NY – Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester, Dr. Duncan Moore, says 60-percent of students enrolled in the Kauffman Entrepreneurship Year, or KEY program, are doing social entrepreneurship projects rather than traditional business enterprises.
"When I look at students today, in 2008, they are much more like the students in the seventies," Moore says.
It's not because they're sporting John Travolta bell bottoms or grooving to Dance Fever. It's because the students don't care all that much about making money compared to students in the 80's and 90's.
"Today, sure students are worried about finding jobs and good jobs, but it doesn't seem to be so much about the money. It seems to be about some kind of, call it, greater good," says Moore.
Mollie Foust is developing an enterprise that combines youth soccer, tutoring and ethics. She says her idea spawned from a "scavenger hunt around campus" with urban 6th and 8th graders. This is when she learned they didn't have time to talk about what was going on in their lives. That flame was further ignited while studying abroad in Kenya. There she worked with the Mathari Youth Sports Association that uses soccer to help kids get out of poverty.
"When the program director there was talking, my mind was racing with oh my gosh, this program can really work well in Rochester'," Foust says.
Classmate Zach Kozick is working to dispel the negative opinion of Rochester on campus by connecting U of R students with the community.
"We take an abandoned building, or underused space, and we turn it into a concert hall and art gallery for one night," Kozick says. "So we collect a bunch of local art, collect a bunch of local bands and we bring everyone together, one space for one night."
But doing good, doesn't necessarily pay the bills.
"I knew that I couldn't do it without getting paid," says Foust.
Moore says the students don't seem to think much about the business side of things.
"I don't know why. But they probably should be," Moore says. "Or maybe they think the money is going to fall out of the sky or they win the lottery or something."
Moore says these students have time to work out the details, or move on to something else. But for now, he calls their goodhearted twist on business "refreshing."