The motto of BYU’s Ballard Center is to “Do Good. Better.”
According to Talmage Haines, a senior majoring in industrial design, the Ballard Center’s classes, clubs, competitions, events and internships all strive to help “empower students to do good, better, no matter their circumstances.”
Haines has participated in many programs offered by the Ballard Center and said the programs can use anyone, in any major, to help further social change and innovation.
The Ballard Center is located in room 360 of the Tanner Building and provides opportunities for students to participate in social change.
Classes such as the Social Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship Lecture Series, the Social Innovation — Do Good Better course and Social Innovation Projects course allow students to explore how they can build hard and soft skills to improve their careers and the lives of others.
Parker Wilson, the marketing director and an internship director for the Ballard Center’s Social Innovation Projects, said he believes students have much to gain from participating in the program. He credits his participation in the class as part of the reason he was selected to work for a Fortune 500 company for a time.
“(The Social Innovation Project program) tries to partner students with a project that’s complementary to the hard skills they have while also helping them with soft skills, like working in a team, communicating effectively, working on disagreements, reporting things properly, being accountable and presenting a project well,” Wilson said.
Alison Brand has been involved with the Ballard Center for one year and is now a member of the marketing team. She has taken the lecture series class and said there are many opportunities for people to get involved.
Brand said students can find a place at the Ballard Center no matter their major or amount of available time.
“The Ballard Center is a doorway into whatever else (students) want to do,” Brand said. “It’s easy at first for students to not know what they want to do yet professionally, but the Ballard Center is an easy way to get involved in something meaningful quickly.”
Alicia Gettys, the Ballard Center’s communications and operations manager, said the center’s main goal is to help students have the most meaningful impact they possibly can. She said the center even offers advisement sessions that can help students find a set of programs tailored to their skills and professional goals.
Gettys said students could gain valuable professional and service experience through internships connected to the Ballard Center and by participating in the Social Innovation Solution Competition. This competition has students work in small teams over the course of two weeks to network and learn from successful social change entrepreneurs in order to solve real-time issues facing an organization. Students who participate can win up to $3,000 and other prizes.
The biggest complaint the Ballard Center gets, according to Gettys, is people find out about it too late and miss out on many incredible opportunities to learn, serve and grow.
“(The Ballard Center’s) target audience is anyone who cares about making the world better,” Gettys said. “We want students to have a meaningful life, by helping them address social issues in an effective, impactful way.”
More information about the Ballard Center, including the clubs and programs it sponsors, can be found on its website.