Impact At Scale

The Beeck Center engages global leaders to drive social change at scale.

Alyssa Alfonso

What is your assigned location and what makes you excited about it?
I will be working with the Federal City Council, in Washington DC this summer. I am so excited to gain a better understanding of Washington DC’s landscape, structural possibilities, and challenges. Growing up in the suburbs of Maryland, just outside DC, I know I am comfortable with a very small sliver of what DC is: trendy coffee shops in Adams Morgan, Rock Creek Park, the Dupont Circle farmer’s market. I see working in partnership with the Federal City Council as a great opportunity to familiarize myself with the parts of DC that are not as often recognized or validated, and to understand what structural forces perpetuate this divided dynamic. In terms of projects, I am excited to hopefully work extensively on FC2’s projects around improving education and housing affordability in DC.

What does social impact mean to you in your experiences?
Social impact crops up in so many different conversations for me. Just this morning over breakfast, a friend of mine mentioned that her dream would be to start a social impact consultancy. When I was shopping online the other day, Cotopaxi framed themselves as a social impact organization as a certified B-corp that pays employees a living wage and encourages them to create their own designs. In my mind, social impact means business that is consciously focused on giving back to the community.

How do you hope to grow through GU Impacts?
In speaking with Michael, the GU Impacts fellow who worked with FC2 last summer, I was most struck by how much he appreciated the opportunity GU Impacts provided for him to shape his own narrative, and carry that with him into job interviews, classes, and conversations considering his future. As a junior transfer who came into college with no clue what I wanted to study, let alone what I hoped to do after college, I am excited for the opportunity to work in a space that is an intersection of business and community good to learn where I find my strengths (and weaknesses) and interests lie. At the end of the GU Impacts fellowship, I am sure I will have a story to tell about how working with FC2 has shaped my perspective and outlook, and I am looking forward to that growth.

Why did you decide to apply to GU Impacts?
This semester, I am currently with two graduate students in conjunction with the Beeck Center to build an Impact Report for a Harlem-based nonprofit that focuses on community empowerment, entrepreneurship, and youth mentorship projects. In working with the team, I found myself drawn by the challenge of finding metrics that adequately capture a non-profit organization’s impact and success. I have loved the opportunity to work on the project, and when I learned about the work of the Federal City Council, I was intrigued by the parallels of the two organizations. Learning about FC2’s commitment to leverage the business sphere to address critical projects specifically in DC, particularly around housing affordability and education reform, immediately made me want to get involved. The work, paired with the structure of the fellowship program, seemed like an experience that could provide direction and structure for me as a rising senior, as well as the opportunity to work on truly meaningful projects this summer.

What do you think makes GU Impacts different from other service programs at Georgetown?
One of the biggest things that I think makes GU Impacts different from other service programs at Georgetown is that it is approached as a partnership beneficial to both parties. In past service trips I have participated in (not through Georgetown), I have worked on a project for a few days with people from my community, reflected on our work in an evening, and driven home without any future contact. There was little interaction with others in the community we hoped to “serve,” and almost as little conversation with the organization we came to work with. I see GU Impacts as different thanks to the fact that the Beeck Center has cultivated a relationship with each of these organizations over time to build expectations for each fellow’s role in the organization, and how we can work to produce positive tangible results for both sides. Ultimately, I see this approach as having much higher potential for lasting change.

What’s your favorite quote?
“The solution to exhaustion isn’t sleep, it’s passion.” – A quote from a friend’s dad

What are you currently reading?
Citizen, an American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

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