When Andrew Serwadda came to Beloit College, he didn’t know what to major in. Nor did he have a clear set of post-college goals. What he did have, though, was more important: the dedication to helping people he left behind. “I’m from a part of the world where poverty’s left and right,” the international student from Uganda explains. “I had a keen interest in how to improve lives.”
At Beloit, Andrew found ways to turn his interest into action. He’s volunteered with the College’s What is Social Excellence Foundation, which supports community business growth. That work pairs Andrew’s major, economics and management, with enterprise—a powerful combination. “Entrepreneurship is helpful because, in the course of being creative and innovating yourself,” he explains, “you’re making a service for other people to improve their lives.”
Andrew’s philosophy grew from the Collegiate Entrepreneur’s Organization Conference, which he attended through a Beloit-sponsored trip. “The conference affirmed how I see entrepreneurship,” he says. “Meeting people with my same interests and same vision just escalated everything.”
Such networking opportunities, Andrew says, are common at Beloit. “Professors teach you certain skill sets, but they’re also pushing you forward in your career. They put you in the right direction with the right people.”
In fact, Andrew’s made connections on a national scale. Working with Neese Professor of Economics Emily Chamlee-Wright, he’s conducted research on Hurricane Katrina recovery. One summer, he traveled to New Orleans to speak with victims. “I’m looking at how to get resources to people on the ground,” he explains. This work involves collaboration with national foundations, Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Beloit alumni across the country.
Andrew’s also built alumni connections at Econ Day, Beloit’s annual Chicago-based networking event. “It gives you an opportunity to put yourself out there through resumes and learn about jobs you didn’t necessarily know about,” he says.
Andrew’s discovered more possibilities through on-campus programs. The Miller Upton Forum’s keynote address particularly inspired him. Speaker and leading economist Hernando DeSoto showed Andrew how property rights can alleviate third-world poverty. “His speech was amazing,” Andrew says. “It just blew me away.”
With influential role models, networking connections, and first-hand experience under his belt, Andrew’s preparing for life after Beloit. “I’d like to work for foundations geared toward economic development, especially in developing countries,” he says. His initial interest still drives him, but it’s found direction at Beloit. “Beloit has helped me think about what I want to achieve, think about my future,” he says. “It’s an environment where you can truly focus on what you believe in.”