As inherent learning environments and places for young adults to embark on professional pathways, universities have special opportunities to help today’s young adults cultivate skills that can help positively impact our world.
Museums—as places of community gathering, free-choice learning, research and stewardship of objects—offer many opportunities for students to gain meaningful professional experiences to engage community audiences in learning and connection, support scientific research using museum collections, and envision new ways for museums to support our societies and our planet.
The CU Museum of Natural History created the Change Collective program in hopes of equipping students with tools and experiences to pursue purposeful and sustainable career pathways as changemakers. The program intertwines museum employment, a personal/professional development program for the cohort, and even, a microcredential rooted in self-reflection and peer support.
“We developed and piloted this special program during the COVID-19 pandemic to help students grow in their confidence and professional abilities to make a positive impact in the world, while also nourishing their own personal growth and balance,” said program coordinator Rebecca Coon.
On April 2, Change Collective participants are hosting a Sustainable Futures Fest from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for fellow CU students. Attendees can drop in and engage in hands-on activities and conversations regarding building more sustainable futures and the natural world.
On April 13, the group will host a showcase and open house, where attendees can hear from the program’s first cohort of students about their backgrounds, the future directions they wish to explore, and how various aspects of this program have influenced large shifts and small pivots in their visions of their futures.
For some, their museum job experiences have opened up unseen possibilities for future careers. For others, specific reflection activities and personal/professional development sessions have helped them see themselves in new ways and helped clarify their desired directions. After each of them share their stories, chat with them at discussion tables focused on different aspects of “success,” including: life path pivots, finding balance, overcoming obstacles and being a changemaker.
“Beyond their microcredentials and earned wages, I believe the biggest takeaways for the students have been a deepened self-awareness of what drives them and a more refined sense of possibilities for interesting and purposeful career pathways…” continued Coon, “something very inspiring for their collective futures!”
For more information about the Change Collective’s free programs please visit the museum's website.