That Business Thing I do

Somewhere in the chaos that was 2015, along with moving countries and chopping off my hair, I somehow joined a business organization. And considering the amount of righteous anger I have expressed over capitalism and the exploitation of trans-national corporations in the past 4 years, it was shocking. To me, and everyone I know. So here is the long overdue explanation of how it happened, and why exactly I’m still doing it.

I’m not good at directions, or reading maps. Particularly not campus maps, though I would like to state that I have give 2 different people directions to the room that caused this mess in the past few days. Its a very difficult room to find, and shares the first part of its name with the room just down the stairs from it. So when I meant to go to an Amnesty International meeting (normal, no surprise terse) I somehow found myself in an Enactus meeting. Of course, it took me a few minutes of the president speaking to figure out what in the world was going on, and by then I was much too uncomfortable to leave. I’d like to blame the English rubbing off on me there. But somehow I sat through that meeting, and at the urging of the lovely girl I sat next to and chatted with, mindlessly agreed to go to the application night as well. This is what I get for attempting to make friends.

So a week later, I found myself applying to this business organization. I didn’t take it seriously, I was unconvinced by their claims of ‘social enterprise’ and ‘business for good’ but it was the first few weeks in a new country and I needed something to do. I never thought I would get in, I don’t (and never plan to) study anything remotely business related. But for some odd reason, the exec member observing my group and reading my interview, Zoe, seemed to think I would be a good fit. Oh where that decision has taken me.

So long story short, Enactus is a international organization that connects student with businesses to help them create social enterprises to help local or international beneficiaries. The website explains this as:

A COMMUNITY OF STUDENT, ACADEMIC AND BUSINESS LEADERS COMMITTED TO USING THE POWER OF ENTREPRENEURIAL ACTION TO TRANSFORM LIVES AND SHAPE A BETTER MORE SUSTAINABLE WORLD

Please excuse me while I roll my eyes into the back of my skull over that statement, but behind all the corporate cheese, there is a lot of good Enactus teams across the world do.

Now because we all know I’m incapable of doing anything only part-way, I somehow became even more involved in this society. The project I joined was, at the start, just ‘the eastern european project’ an idea for a project that worked with victims of human trafficking in Eastern Europe. The initial research had been done by Zoe, though she was our Project Director, not Project Leader. So as we began research, we also had to sort out who that would be. And anyone who knows me can see where this went. A few weeks in and I found myself in charge of setting up an international project. Its 6 months later and I still have no idea what I’m doing, but the project has grown and developed into something amazing.

I have a lot of feelings about Enactus. And as I’m writing this, I’m pretty furious. I have days where I want to completely quit the society, and days where I would’t trade it for anything. For me, its a balance of all the things I hate versus all the good I can see these projects do. Its a difficult balance, especially on days when I’m tired and dealing with all the drama that inevitable comes with a society. But I’m still here, so it must be worth something.

Alex

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