Annual SOURCE Symposium Reveals Community Impact and Internal growth

 Photo of SOURCE students interacting with guests at the Annual SOURCE Symposium 
Photo of SOURCE students interacting with guests at the Annual SOURCE Symposium 

In its last event of the year, SOURCE, Claremont McKenna’s student run non-profit consulting group, gathered in the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum to host its second annual symposium. Professors, students and SOURCE clientele were among those in attendance.

Opening the event were managers Lily Muskal ’19 and Jack Segal ’18. Segal who has worked for SOURCE for the past three years and is a government-economics major, briefed the group on the status of their numerous projects, while Muskal, a rising junior and biology-economics major, focused on recent organizational developments and internal restructuring.

Segal and Muskal explained that this event was meant serve as a platform to look at and share the impact SOURCE had on the community this past year. For many intrigued students, this event also provided a unique lens to understand SOURCE and further grasp its main goals and objectives as a non-profit consulting group.

SOURCE has existed for 12 years and originated from a Kravis Leadership Institute business plan competition in 2005. It is an entirely student run non-profit consulting group, currently compromised of 37 student consultants. SOURCE partners with non-profits in the local community mainly within Claremont, Upland and Pomona, but has recently began to work in Montclair as well.

In his introduction to the group, Segal explained the basics of what SOURCE consulting entails. “The main point about SORUCE is our twofold mission that we’ve diverted to external and internal impact”, he said, “the first part is to leave a positive impact on the community by providing value-added, result oriented, services to non-profit organizations. The second, internal side, stresses providing our student consultants with practical leadership and development opportunities to prepare them for successful careers post-graduation.”

Both managers emphasized the tremendous growth SOURCE has experienced over the past 12 years. In 2011, SOURCE focused primarily on advancing its student development component and in 2015 the team celebrated its 10-year anniversary, bringing in over 140 nonprofit members from the surrounding community.

Muskal later detailed SOURCE’s client affiliation. “We have 7 very different, diverse, clients each year,”she stated. “We work with groups from theater nonprofits like ‘Ophelia’s Jump’ to environmental groups like ‘Sustainable Claremont’. Our most common projects are impact analysis, market strategizing, fundraising, and programming development. We are able to really dive into these projects because of our partnership model which allows us to spend an entire year [with] clients.”

After their presentation overview, attendees were invited to walk around the Athenaeum and visit the various round tables set up. Each table featured student consultants and their respective project this year. This interactive structure allowed for great one-one discussion and in-depth explanations of the consulting process.

First year consultant, Kenlyn Mirbach ’20, shared her motivations applying to SOURCE and experience thereafter. “I am super into community service and giving back” she said. “My ultimate goal is to start my own social venture at some point, so I’ve always been involved in community-service, but I didn’t know about the strategic side of nonprofits. This is why joining SORUCE was so valuable. It granted me the ability to be on the strategic side of nonprofits, not just volunteering. I feel confident that by working at SOURCE I learned how to give back from a higher level.”

Lead consultant Ethan Tom ’19, shared much of Mirbach’s sentiments. “In high school, I was frustrated because throughout the service trips and volunteer programs I participated in I saw a lot of things I wish I had more input in – it felt like a lot of our potential and resources were being wasted. So, in college, the chance to work from a strategy level and actually map out how resources are allocated sounded really interesting. My other favorite part about SOURCE is working with a group of like-minded individuals. We all came to college to some extent to prepare for a career, but doing it with people who are invested in the nonprofit community is all the more fulfilling.”

Walking around the symposium, it was clear SOURCE consultants were diligent and devoted to their role at SOURCE and its non-profit work. Each round table provided a new perspective of the SOURCE mission and impact. Not only did student consultants take pride in their past year of work but it was also clear that the internal SOURCE community was a major component motivating their success. Attending students were clearly intrigued by the sense of team-work SOURCE encourages and, for many, this event further propelled attendees to apply for open positions next year.