June 21, 2017 | The NextGen Leadership Series, GU Impacts Profile: Luke Butcher
Interview by Ali Walton, Beeck Communications Analyst
Meet Luke! He’s a sophomore in the College, studying Economics, Mathematics, and French. He will be combining his experiences with microfinance and community empowerment at his fellowship with Mann Deshi Bank and Foundation at Mhaswad, India.
What is your assigned location and what makes you excited about it?
My assigned location is the Mann Deshi Bank and Mann Deshi Foundation in Mhaswad, India. Without a doubt, I am most excited about meeting the women that run Mann Deshi and the women that Mann Deshi serves, and then discovering how I can contribute to something meaningful. Managing the language barrier as well as I can, I would love to hear their stories, and come to appreciate the nuances of their life in Mhaswad. The range of services that Mann Deshi provides is also unmatched, so I’m really looking forward to seeing all of Mann Deshi’s work in action.
What does social impact mean to you in your experiences?
Social impact to me means working towards long-term empowerment. More specifically, I think that it means partnering with disadvantaged communities in such a way that builds capacities, and ensures that those capacities last. Whether it is information, training, capital, or some other valuable resource, any tool that enables people to take greater control of their lives is valuable in my mind. If the effects of a program (such as business training, insurance, etc.) are still present months or even years later, and the people benefiting consider them worthwhile, then I would call them a social impact.
How do you hope to grow through GU Impacts?
I hope to grow through GU Impacts in several ways. First, I hope to gain a practical understanding of development. I have taken some relevant coursework, but I think it can only go so far; it doesn’t substitute the voices of actual communities. I imagine that l have misconceptions and oversimplifications about development (surely about microfinance, gender inequality, and cultural norms) that I could dispel this summer. Second, I hope that GU Impacts will propel me to pursue a career even more focused on social impact. Through the personal connections I have made, service in DC has made me so much more aware of the privileges I have and the responsibilities I feel towards other people; I hope that similar outcomes will occur in India. Lastly, I hope to learn more about how to deal with the new and unexpected. My fellowship-project will probably be the most challenging experience of my life. Whether it’s language or culture or weather, aspects of the fellowship-project will require me to adapt and stay focused on contributing the most that I can.
Why did you decide to apply to GU Impacts?
I decided to apply to GU Impacts partially for the growth that I just described. Ultimately though, it was the likelihood of making an impact that stood out to me. When I heard about the capstone projects of last year’s fellows, I was so impressed by their contributions (in addition to their sense of initiative) that I felt inspired to join the program in hopes of conducting similar work this summer. If you read about the parts of the program, it makes sense; GU Impacts is very comprehensive. Whether it’s the cultural orientation or project planning or reflections, there are components that make tangible impact so much more likely.
What do you think makes GU Impacts different from other service programs at Georgetown?
What makes GU Impacts different is the same reason that drove me to apply — the comprehensiveness of the program. It really is more than an internship. The preparation, resources, deliverables, and post-project activities are unparalleled by other programs.
What’s your favorite quote?
“Listening to others, especially those with whom we disagree, tests our own ideas and beliefs. It forces us to recognize, with humility, that we don’t have a monopoly on the truth.” — Janet Yellen
What are you currently reading?
Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places, by Sharon Zukin