PAUL AIKEN
University of Colorado student Ryan Pierce of the Collegiate Social Impact Initiatives organization. The group is organizing a computer donation to the african country of Ghana. In addition they are building a website that would be used as a general clearinghouse for a variety of nonprofit organizations.

University of Colorado senior Ryan Pierce was looking for a meaningful way to put his technology skills to work when he was contacted by the founder of the Leeds School of Business student group, Collegiate Social Impact Initiative.

Pierce, an advertising major, said his interest was peaked when CU alumnus Kaesi Solomon introduced the group’s library project — an initiative to donate computers to a library in the African country of Ghana.

“This was perfect for me,” Pierce said. “I aligned really well with this because I was able to learn from it and practice what I’d like to do later in life, while volunteering and helping a nonprofit.”

Pierce joined the semester-old club in January and immediately began heading the library initiative, one of two projects the ambitious seven-student group is taking on this spring.

The group is also working on a website that would combine information from local nonprofits, making it easier for the community to search and find organizations and projects that interest them, Pierce said.

“We want it to be a one-stop shop for charities,” Pierce said. “They’re controlling their own information, we’re just aggregating it on the site.”

The students plan to focus on two new projects each semester, but Pierce said the website would likely be a continuing effort.

The group was started in the fall by students hoping to extend the efforts of their Critical Leadership Class. The class, offered by Professor James LoPresti in the fall of 2010, partnered students with nonprofits to help them gain practical work experience.

Pierce said the club provides similar experience for students by giving them an opportunity to hone skills they’re learning in classes through service projects, boosting their confidence and resumes.

The club is hosting an open discussion Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in Leeds room 210 in hopes of increasing awareness and encouraging community involvement.

“The purpose of this event is to inspire students and professors to understand that they can have a direct impact on making our world better,” Solomon said, “and that there are effective, efficient and structured ways to actually make our world better.”

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