Haven Denson, a third year student at North Central College, has been an advocate for racial justice on our campus and in our community. A first-generation student, Haven has organized marches and rallies, served alongside faculty and staff on our Bias Education Team, and created an online Activism Resource Center through her work at our Center for Social Impact. As a social entrepreneurship major, Haven uses what she learns in the classroom to creatively address the root cause of complex issues that she cares about deeply. In other roles on campus as an Orientation Leader, First Year Mentor, Black Student Association board member, Gospel Choir coordinator, member of the Blue Key Leadership Honor Society, and participant in our Office of Faith and Action, Haven consistently reflects the values that drive her to be a changemaker.
Before I was old enough to know the word, I wanted to be a changemaker. Our campus defines changemaking as someone who’s committed to innovating social systems to further equity and inclusion for those around them. As a woman of color, I have had many experiences with bias and injustices. This has given me the desire to bring forth long-lasting change for many of us in marginalized communities. In college, I traveled to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and learned about systems that perpetuate mass incarceration for people of color. Through that, I became passionate about activism and began to utilize design thinking, a method of changemaking, as I expanded my social justice work. I used my leadership positions on campus to help others turn their ideas into action. As a leader in the Black Student Association, I not only created a safe community for students on campus, but also a scholarship fund for Black students. At our Center for Social Impact, I created a resource center for allies and activists to become more involved and socially aware leaders. Through these endeavors, I look forward to continue growing in my activism and empowering others to do the same.