By Molly Gearan
Last Thursday, December 7th, 2017, Bryant University hosted the 3rd Annual Social Change Marketplace. The purpose of Social Change Marketplace is to create an open market where people can purchase gifts from local social enterprises, who have missions that create positive social impact. It is the first student-run program of its kind in the country. This holiday marketplace began as a class project for Professor Sandra Enos’ Sociology Service Learning course. Only six vendors attended the first event in 2015. Last week, Bryant hosted 20 vendors. These vendors were: Conscious Step, Ivory Ella, Riverzedge Arts, Beautiful Day, Equal Exchange, Oh So Africa, Honey for Haiti, Harvest Kitchen, Global Mission, The Roots Project, Pure Haven, Dot Products, Peppers Closet, Prosperity Candles, Deux Mains Designs, Ocean Air Plant Center, The Art of Fate, and Bead For Life (Bryant Enactus).
The organizer of this event is Brianna LaGuardia, a junior Social Entrepreneurship and Global Supply Chain major. Brianna worked closely with Professor Sandra Enos and a committee of about ten students. The committee set more ambitious goals for this year’s event, and they certainly followed through and achieved their goals. The Social Change Marketplace Committee created a new website, actively updated social media accounts, dispersed flyers around campus and in the community, planned two kick-off events and doubled the amount of vendors.
Brianna is thrilled with the success of this year’s event and is already planning for next year. She shared that the event raised over $8,000 for all the social enterprises this year. After the event, she proudly said, “Organizing the Social Change Marketplace has been by far one of the most rewarding opportunities I’ve had at Bryant. To see how much this event has expanded since it began in 2015 as a class project, is honestly indescribable. This event has taken on a life of its own and has more potential than I ever imagined possible. We will be hosting a Social Change Marketplace at Fidelity on December 11th, 2017, as well as at the National Campus Compact Conference in Indiana on March 28th, 2018.”
Social Change Marketplace’s goal is to bring this event to more college campuses, corporations and farmers markets. Be sure to visit http://www.socialchangemarketplace.com and follow @socialchangemarketplace on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with all the vendors and exciting upcoming events.