Graduation season is in full swing and high school seniors around the nation are getting ready to accept their diplomas. . . . as well as finish their senior projects! With the high stress of leaving high school and becoming increasingly independent, graduating seniors often hurry to finalize their end-of-the-year, self-directed projects. What better way to leave a legacy behind than to use a senior project to help change the world? Here are four project ideas that inspire social change:
1. Host a presentation about U.S. foreign aid statistics.
There are many myths in public opinion that hurt positive policy making and social change. For example, contrary to popular belief, the U.S. actually spends 2 percent of its budget on foreign aid and not 25-30 percent. Sending foreign aid to nations with high rates of corruption does not make them more corrupt, and the U.S. actually does receive positive returns when we increase our foreign aid. These social myths make social change harder to achieve.
For a senior project, create a slideshow correcting social myths. Take full advantage of an eager, energetic crowd of friends and family, and spread knowledge to educate and inspire people.
2. Volunteer at a nonprofit organization for a semester.
Volunteering: good for the soul and good for the community – and also good for the brain.
Volunteering at a nonprofit organization for a semester gives students the chance to learn the inner workings of the nonprofit industrial complex. Students can learn how resources are obtained and distributed, how politics play out in charity affairs and how a group of people with passionate ideas can become an organization in the first place. Learning this process and sharing it with classmates has invaluable domino effects of inspiration. Volunteering for a semester gives students the tools to build social change.
3. Collect garbage instead of throwing it away.
A senior project consisting of not throwing out the trash, sounds easy right? We often underestimate the amount of trash we produce. Storing full trash bags is more difficult than it sounds and produces a shock factor to any audience. Use a senior project to weigh the school’s waste and make people more aware of their waste. This will instigate social change as people will be inspired to use less and recycle more. The environment will appreciate it.
4. Host a graduation party to raise awareness.
Use this occasion to reflect not just upon personal successes but upon other successes in the world as well. Dedicate a party to raising awareness about a particular cause and spend the evening educating friends as well as celebrating them.
There are various ways to make a difference in the world. We are seldom given audiences as eager as those that attend high school senior project presentations. By spreading awareness among our friends and family about social issues, graduating high school seniors can help change the world – and maybe even an “A” along the way.
– Tanya Kureishi