After switching majors four times, Anais Baez finally settled on a double major in Global Business and Public Administration.

But something was missing.

With a long-term goal of starting a nonprofit in Latin America, she wanted to learn more about social change. How do you come up with creative solutions for social problems in the U.S. and abroad? How can businesses be profitable, while also helping communities? Baez wanted to find out.

So, with the help of her classmate Yamilet Gutierrez, Baez worked on a proposal for a new minor called Social Impact.

The two met with Professors Carlos Rufin and Suzyn Ornstein, as well as Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs Lauren Mahoney to see if their idea could take off.

“The faculty reacted in a big way,” said Gutierrez, who’s majoring in Global Business and Entrepreneurship. “Nearly everyone was excited about the minor and wanted to help shape the curriculum.”

Baez and Gutierrez also received immediate support from students. It was clear that they wanted to explore innovative solutions for environmental, educational, health, and financial challenges in struggling communities.

Baez thinks Suffolk’s international diversity helped spark the interest.

“Many of our students come from countries in areas like Latin America and Africa, where there is a real need for social change. With a minor like this, students can go back to their homes and push for a better future," said Baez.

In just a few months, their proposal was approved. The new minor will be offered by the Management & Entrepreneurship department beginning in the fall of 2013. It will be open to students in the Business School and College of Arts & Sciences.

Although Baez graduated this May, she believes the new minor will enable other students to make a difference in the world. "I want students to realize that they have the power to help people, especially those who make up the bottom of the pyramid,” she said.

The curriculum addresses the specific social challenges of poverty/economic development, healthcare access, educational access, human rights, safety, and climate change, while providing practical, hands-on experience in implementing solutions in these areas.

Baez and Gutierrez are thankful for the support they’ve received along the way. “This was a team effort. Without the help of classmates and faculty, our vision would not have come to pass,” Gutierrez said.

For more information about the minor, contact Professor Suzyn Ornstein.