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Do Good. Better.

Eva Witesman of the Ballard Center urges those involved with the humanities to use their specially trained skills to improve the world.

Ballard Center members standing in front of a ventilator with Cambodian doctors.
BYU Nursing students, Brent Kamba and Brooke Stacey, accompany Neonatal Rescue group to Cambodia to help with training on neonatal ventilators through the Ballard Center at Brigham Young University.
Photo by Nate Edwards / BYU Photo

Have you ever wondered how you can use your college education to better your community? The Ballard Center for Social Impact lets students do just that, no matter their major. Eva Witesman, academic director of the center, presented her lecture “Solving Social Problems Through the Skills of the Humanities: A Framework and an Invitation” at the Humanities Center on March 21, 2024. In it, she showcased projects, classes, and research from the Ballard Center and invited students and faculty in the College of Humanities to use their skills to make an impact on the world.

Witesman began by explaining the purpose of the Ballard Center, which helps students engage in their communities and become active participants in solving social problems by applying skills they learn in their primary majors to projects run by the center. They hope to mentor students who will engage in lifelong learning and service in their communities. She said, “We aren’t just trying to inform the work of solving social problems; we’re actually interested in and engaged in the work of solving social problems directly. Most of our work, though, is built around developing faith and skills.”

Witesman explained that students can take individual classes from the Ballard Center or enroll in the global and community impact minor to get a taste of what the Ballard Center has to offer. In these classes, students can learn about ways to get involved in nonprofits; work on research with Ballard Brief, the center’s website where students post their social impact research; or participate in an on-campus internship that works with outside social impact organizations.

Additionally, the Ballard Center offers social impact work worldwide. Witesman outlined some of the projects they are currently working on, including implementing early flood warning technology in Costa Rica, alleviating poverty in Bolivia after an environmental disaster, and educating children in the brick kiln communities in Nepal.

At the end of her lecture, Witesman implored the students and faculty of the College of Humanities to consider using their time and talents at the Ballard Center. She pointed out skills that the College of Humanities provides that the Ballard Center needs like language skills and cultural literacy. She said, “We desperately need your skills, your frameworks, and your expertise, whether through you or your students.”

Learn more about the Ballad Center and what they do.

The Humanities Center hosts colloquiums and events at 3 p.m. on Thursdays.