Stanford Intellectual Vitality

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It was junior year and I had just joined Save Darfur Club at school. The club had been created a year ago to spread awareness among the community about the atrocities and genocide committed in Darfur, Sudan. The year I joined, we decided to take it a step further and actively help the victims in some way. The very obvious and practical way to do that, for us school goers, was to raise funds and send it through Red Cross, the only humanitarian organization still allowed to operate in Darfur. Our method: again the typical high school way of selling customized goods. We chose these to be t-shirts. Since I was the one with two years of Economics studies, I was given the responsibility of planning and executing the modus operandi to raise the maximum money. I don’t think I had felt this driven before. With no such experience in the past, I set out to brain storm with family and friends. With some research, intuition and the help from my father, I succeeded in formulating a plan that eventually raised our profit margin to 15 percent. I found out that the city 45 miles from ours had cheaper custom shirt making shops. We bought their goods in bulk and sold them around our city (or town?), setting up booths at strategic locations where people could and would buy our t-shirts, the farmers market and our city’s university campus. Realizing the potential of internet marketing, I also added a shopping link to our already active website. The club members also publicized our project and the cause using texting, flyers and school’s PA announcement system. We met our target, and we felt good. But as the adrenaline rush of having accomplishing something fades away, we see in front of us, bigger tasks to be undertaken and an even greater need to keep working. I had always been the idealist type, so the reason for my joining the club was to be involved in some good cause. What I didn’t realize at the time was how challenging such an involvement can be, at the intellectual as well as...
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