United 4 Social Change is a project to bring together social activists from all different sectors of social change movements and to train new activists to join the movements. We work primarily by training people to advocate for social issues through both spoken and written forms of communication. We teach high-level argumentation and persuasion to create social advocates.
United 4 Social Change is a project to train new activists to be effective advocates for social change. We work primarily by teaching people to advocate for social issues through both spoken and written forms of communication. Our curricula focus on high-level argumentation to create social advocates that use reason and evidence to persuade others.
We work with students to develop their skills for editorial writing. We encourage writers to share their diverse experiences and train them to discuss issues with effectiveness. We also work in-person with students on public speaking and writing to provide hands-on and interactive training for social advocacy. Both these tactics are unique in that instead of working primarily with those who have the skills to be effective advocates for social issues, we work with those who face the social issues to better advocate for themselves. We believe that it is one thing to speak for someone and another thing altogether to teach someone to speak for themselves.
We believe written and spoken advocacy is effective for social change as it provides the necessary tools to fight problems that people face. Effective social advocacy allows people to campaign against institutions and society for change that meets the criteria that affected populations set. We strongly believe that advocacy has the largest spillover effect of any social action, not only in creating more advocates but also in solving the problems.
Workshops: We have held multiple mini-workshops in India (one in partnership with SEWA Bharat), two summer workshops in Boston (in partnership with Global Academic Commons), and several mini-workshops in the United States (in partnership with Yale Splash, MIT ESP, and others). Our workshops focus on building advocacy skills among a diverse group of students. We have worked with elementary school students up to mid-career individuals. Our workshops have been taught in two languages (Hindi and English), and we are working on adding a third this summer (Gujarati). We are planning on hosting more workshops next year (both long-term and short-term ones) and hope to publish our different curricula to a community of teachers interested in social change.
Courses/Internships: This is by far our biggest program with over 500 individuals applying for it every month. Students apply to receive instruction on editorial writing while getting the opportunity to publish their work on a platform that reaches thousands of viewers. We have recently revamped our platform to better support all the interns that wish to work with us by automating much of the instruction through videos and auto-graded quizzes so that we can focus on giving individual feedback on students’ writing. We hope to provide other educational opportunities for those who are not yet ready to engage in written work. This includes a plan to offer a course on English grammar, research skills, and a course that introduces students to thinking critically about various social issues.
Non-Profit Partners: We currently have around 25 partners and are working on adding more. We work with nonprofit partners to share the stories about their work, introduce volunteer and job opportunities to our students, and serve as a zero-cost “PR” firm for our partners. We never charge non-profits for any services we provide them.
The number of people who follow us has grown exponentially in the past year, with a quarter of a million followers across social media channels, over 15,000 newsletter subscribers, and a growing number of site visitors every month (we’ve had 50,000 visitors this month alone). This audience allows us to spread awareness about the various social issues that our interns write about to a huge audience, while also providing a platform for our nonprofit partners to share their work with our readers.
Chief Executive Officer
Priten H. Shah is a student at Harvard College in the Class of 2019. Priten founded and runs United 4 Social Change Inc., a platform for a global community that works to spur social change by training young activists. He is the owner of Suddha.Marketing LLC, a small business marketing and web development firm. He is working on some other projects as well, and loves to chat about non-profits, South Asia, and technology with others!
Chief Operations Officer
Chandani Shah is an incoming freshman at Boston University in the Class of 2021. She participated on her high school debate team at Walter Panas High School for four years, where she developed a more intense passion for raising social awareness in society. Chandani loves writing about a variety of topics, but has mostly written about issues concerning women in India for I4SC. At I4Sc, she is responsible for guiding interns in the Regular Internship and the Elite Internship through the writing process and training them to develop their argumentative writing skills. She enjoys discussing mental health, women’s rights, writing, and social activism.