Lian Kariuki '15

Working Towards Dreams through Sustainable Involvement

Lian Kariuki ’15, a student with a dual major in sustainable business and sociology/anthropology, launched herself into leadership starting at the end of high school in Nairobi, Kenya when she was accepted into the Oxfam International Youth Partnership program as a Kenyan Ambassador to India. She returned from India to Kenya, at the age of 19, with a plan to begin a nonprofit called Adopted Dreams for the Kenyan Youth living in slums.

“The reason I called it Adopted Dreams is because I wanted to convey that every dream can come true,” Lian explained. “It depends on you being focused, consistent, and putting work into it.”

With the help of other young professionals, Lian taught vocational skills such as carpentry, welding, and sewing to youth and women. As part of the women empowerment program aspect of Adopted Dreams, she helped women create eco-friendly shopping bags, so that they could save money from what they sold as “an investment in their dreams of school or taking care of their family.”

Around this time, a friend of hers recommended she apply to Green Mountain College through the Make-A-Difference Scholarship.

“It had always been my dream to study in the U.S.,” Lian noted. “And GMC is an academically conducive environment with a purpose to contribute to the community and the world. It was just what I needed.”

Though she came to the College with an inclination towards a singular major in sociology/anthropology, after taking a marketing course with Jacob Park, she realized that Sustainable Business would be imperative for her future.

“Sustainable Business is different,” she extrapolated. “You are looking at sustainable ways to manage and create income, and making profit while considering communities.”

So far, Lian has shown her commitment to improving the microcosm of the GMC community in many ways. As the president of the Intercultural Center (ICC), co-head delegate of Model United Nations, International Awareness Club (IAC) vice-president, Diversity Committee student representative, and student receptionist in the Student Life Department, she had been consistently involved in making a change on campus.

As the president of the ICC, for example, she hosted the Global Bazaar with the director of community outreach and special projects, José Gálvez Contreras ‘11, and raised money for breast cancer support. The college even awarded her the Gold Star Award for Academics and Community Service at the 2012 Honors Tea ceremony.

Lian completed her first internship at the Food Project in Dorchester, Boston. She described the experience as an opportunity to “facilitate nutritional workshops, manage the farmers market and a team of diverse teens to conduct market outreach for the Food Projects farmers' market.”

After she graduates, Lian looks forward to a career in professional strategic planning. She hopes that she will be able to fulfill her passion of traveling and meeting new people in different societies.

“Spirituality has been my foundation. Not everything was a smooth road, and I’m still growing,” Lian shared. “But I believe that I’ve identified my purpose in life, and now I’m working towards it.”

by Laura Huley '13

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