Langley university teaching students how to save the world

After six years of exploration, planning, and research, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) will be launching a new program in non-profit studies in September.

The 30-credit certificate in Non-Governmental Organizations and Nonprofit Studies is a fit for those who want to work in the field of social change and helping others.

KPU anthropology instructor Larissa Petrillo noted that jobs in the non-profit sector have no geographical boundaries in that there are both local and international opportunities in the field.

“This is a vehicle for people who are altruistic in nature and who want to work in a field or for an organization that aligns with their views and allows them the flexibility to make a difference,” said Petrillo.

The unique program, suitable for new high school graduates as well as mature students, was born out of reviewing the needs of the non-profit sector, students and alumni, other post-secondary institutions, and experts in the non-profit field.

It is a one-of-a-kind program in that it combines the teachings of KPU’s Faculty of Arts and School of Business to deliver graduates knowledge of philanthropy, financial management, and accountability.

While the program will enable students to seek volunteer and entry-level positions anywhere in the world, there is a strong understanding of local non-profit examples in the Metro Vancouver region.

According to KPU, the number of non-governmental agencies operating worldwide has been growing since the Second World War, with parallel growth in the labour market. For graduates of the program, that may mean job opportunities with organizations that address humanitarian, human rights, and environmental issues, as well as problems experienced by marginalized populations and developing nations.

“This is a movement that changes the world at your doorstep, and moves across borders,” Petrillo said.

As a specialist in social and cultural change, Petrillo believes those in the millennial generation will be attracted to the program due to their desire to “fix” the problems created in the world by previous generations.

“They see all the negative effects of what others have done, and they sense the need for a radical shift to move forward with social change,” she said. “They are the generation that will get things done.”

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