Undergrad’s Philanthropy Class Wins Competition

Eric Rodriguez, BS 09/BA 09 (economics), won the curriculum innovation category of the Bears Breaking Boundaries Competition for a proposal that brings economics and business disciplines together to improve the impact of philanthropy.

Rodriguez proposed a course called The Economics and Business Perspectives of Philanthropy, which beat out 28 other submissions in the curriculum innovation category.

The competition is organized by the Berkeley student government (ASUC) and Big Ideas@Berkeley, an online marketplace supporting UC Berkeley students who have “big ideas.” Bears Breaking Boundaries aims to encourage the next generation of research, education, and service activities on the UC Berkeley Campus through a series of "idea competitions."

Rodriguez's interdisciplinary undergraduate business course would prepare students to make educated decisions as future nonprofit leaders, policy makers, and philanthropists. “With resources more constrained than ever, there is an even greater need to identify and prioritize nonprofit projects that have a high return in social benefit on dollars invested,” says Rodriguez.

Judges hailed the course topic as “truly compelling and completely relevant.”

Erika Walker, executive director of the Haas Undergraduate Program, adds, “Eric is an excellent example of a student who truly understands the notion of leading through innovation. His foresight has the potential to change the development and perspective of our future philanthropists."

Three fellow members of the Beta Alpha Psi business fraternity will work on making the class a reality after Rodriguez graduates.