THRIVE, a student organization focused on social enterprising and change at the University of Rhode Island, is revamping the institution’s structure and methods to better suit student needs.
The club’s main purpose is to serve as a platform for students who want to create social change by giving them access to resources and support that, as an individual, they cannot acquire. In the past, students who have an idea can present it to the executive board, who will then help them achieve it by creating an event.
This year, President Gina Miranda and Vice President Jess Florendo have decided to restructure the way THRIVE functions, allowing involved members to take a more direct and overall vast approach. Instead of each student creating an idea for individual social change, the entire organization will debate and select a topic that everyone will work towards over the course of one or two semesters.
“We’ve always talked about encouraging students to live their passions, but we ourselves haven’t really done that yet,” Florendo said. “As an executive board, we decided we needed to actually start doing social change. Not so much talk the talk but walk the walk and just really apply ourselves to the things that we’ve said for so long.”
THRIVE is taking a year off from hosting their regular events, which include “Social Change: Concept to Reality,” and “Changefest.” Florendo and Miranda both realized that the organization spent more time during their general membership meetings planning these events instead of inspiring social change.
“Behind the scenes, we’re looking at the things that are part of each event that we want to keep with the adjustments we want to make,” Miranda said. “While planning the events we wanted to have, we were using a lot of that time to plan the meetings instead of creating the actual change we could have been doing during the semesters here at URI. They can foster some amount of change, but one day won’t create the most change as opposed to one semester or even two semesters of every meeting, all the effort and resources.”
This new structure will allow the group to take collectivist action towards a singular social change idea. In addition, they are creating a plan to engage the overall URI community more. Florendo noted that the organization is looking into creating volunteer opportunities, fundraising and partnering with other pre-existing resources on campus.
“It’s not just one thing, it involves the minds of many because everyone comes from different backgrounds,” Miranda said. “Being able to use all of that knowledge to help this person get the project done because it will then help more people, in the long run, is what we’re fostering now.”
Florendo and Miranda both believe that this new structure and system will allow THRIVE to grow in the future, as it will create a more solid and interactive foundation. They want the students who will be excelling into leadership positions in the future to focus solely on the social change they want to create, instead of sustaining the organization itself.
“It’s not so much that this change in direction was really necessary, but that we felt it was appropriate,” Florendo said. “I want them to be able to look forward to the future without worrying about the actual organization. The greatest legacy I could leave behind is a solid enough foundation for us to continue to grow.”
THRIVE meets on Fridays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Room 300 of the Memorial Union.