Profiteers need not apply

In Business & Technology /

By Vincent McDermott

Sarah Grant, 28, had to choose between going to Ghana to teach farmers modern agriculture techniques, or stay in Canada to develop a way for cell phones to make calls in underground parking lots. “I wanted to make a difference in the world, so my choice was pretty obvious,” she laughs. The University of Saskatchewan graduate is a member of Engineer’s Without Borders. Grant was at Ryerson’s Not-For-Profit Career Fair on Thursday to share her experiences in Ghana and to promote volunteering with a not-fot-profit organization. The fair featured over 30 charities, organizations, and guest speakers. The aim was to show students and graduates the advantages that a not-for-profit organization has over the corporate world. “A corporation’s goal is to make money and profits,” says Chris Betty, a first-year information and technology management student and member of the Ryerson Career Development and Employment Centre. “A non-profit tries to make people’s lives better.” Betty says few corporation’s could replicate that kind of experience.“They’re happier because they’re making a difference, and not making money a high priority.” Kaley Fitzsimmons, a volunteer from the environmental group Association for Canadian Educational Resources, adds that a not-for-profit becomes more like a community than a corporation could ever hope to become. “It’s a lot more close and sociable, creative, there’s a higher emphasis on people over profit,” Fitzsimmons says. Naveed Ghandehari, a first-year biomedical engineering student with Engineers Without Borders, is going to Ghana this summer. Ghandehari wanted the chance to use and expand his knowledge of engineering, while helping others. “With groups like Engineers Without Borders, you’re getting your hands dirty and you get all sorts of chances to meet new people,” he says. “A non-profit in Ghana won’t be worrying about making money at the end of the day.” Ghandehari’s job will involve making agricultural practices more financially and environmentally stable for farmers and local governments, something Ghandehari views as more worthwhile than expanding profits. “Working with a non-profit, no matter how big or small, is something everyone should look at.”

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