Student Organization Spotlight: Learn About the Incredible Journey of Net Impact at UIC amidst the Pandemic

The year 2020 did not exactly turn out the way we all hoped it would and with all the uncertainty everywhere, the act of “doing good” always goes a long way. Net Impact at UIC believes in creating leaders who want to do good work that creates a positive impact on the world. They believe in tackling bigger issues like reimagining capitalism by encouraging conversations that dig deeper into the role of businesses in making the world a better place. We got the opportunity to learn about the efforts made by the UIC Net Impact Team this year and how they conducted events amidst the pandemic. As they start to prepare for the spring semester, we caught up with Cotis Mitchell (MBA Candidate & Healthcare Administrator at UI Health).

Certificate awarded to Net Impact as 2019 Graduate Chapter of the Year Finalist

What is the vision of Net Impact and has it changed considering current times?
Net Impact’s vision is to empower our members to have a lasting, positive impact on the world around them. That vision has not changed in the wake of COVID-19; if anything, the pandemic underscores the value of Net Impact membership and participation. COVID-19 has exacerbated issues of social justice and racial justice, which Net Impact seeks to address.

Congratulations on all your hard work for the Community Consulting Competition, tell us more about your experience organizing it and how different it was keeping in mind the restrictions in place due to the “new normal”.
Thank you! It was really exciting for us to be part of the competition. Having the opportunity to work with leaders in the business school as well as Earth’s Remedies was awesome. We helped by posing probing questions to the team in order to identify a reasonable scope for the issue of the competition. The virtual planning sessions did away with travel times, making it easier for all of us to meet at a time without worrying about the place. We do miss our in-person interactions but we were able to adjust and still put on a successful competition. For additional details about the work that Earth’s Remedies does, please read the UIC Business Blog.

Net Impact members participating in Earth's Remedies Community Consulting Competition

Tell us about the other events and services Net Impact plans to organize coming this spring keeping in mind the present virtual scenario. 
We held an event before the Thanksgiving holiday, discussing MBA careers in the renewable energy and non-profit spaces. We haven’t set anything in stone just yet for the spring semester as we look to see how events from Net Impact central will proceed. But, we are surely going to conduct many more exciting events in the coming few months.

Being the leader of Net Impact in both the pre-COVID and during the COVID-19 era, tell us how your plans for the organization have changed over time?
COVID-19 has had a profound effect on Net Impact. While many of our interests remain the same, we’ve taken a renewed interest in social justice and social entrepreneurship. Our leadership team is exploring an interdisciplinary concept for incubating social entrepreneurship for underserved communities in Chicago. We’re excited about the possibilities!

Net Impact members with their certificate as finalist for the 2019 Graduate Chapter of the Year

Lastly, how important do you think it is to be part of a student organization given the present circumstances.
In a time where small talk and casual interactions are difficult to come by, I think that student organizations are a critical avenue for meeting people you have something in common with. Whether that’s career aspirations or core values and beliefs about the future, being part of a student organization can expand your social circle and provide meaningful projects to help you weather the ups and downs of all the uncertainty we’re seeing.

Thank you Cotis, for sharing your thoughts with us and we wish the UIC Net Impact team all the very best for the times ahead. May we continue to learn from your team about all the skills that emerging leaders should have to create a more sustainable tomorrow for all. If interested to join Net Impact at UIC, feel free to reach out to Natalie Sheneman and Cotis Mitchell for details.