Making Social Responsibility Easy
26th Sep 2012 Posted in: YAYA Wire 3

By Katy Tripses

A recent article that appeared in Forbes Magazine stated, “86% of [YAYAs] believe business will have at least as much potential as government to meet society’s challenges”. With this in mind, more businesses are beginning to embrace social responsibility as a main practice when attracting YAYAs as both employees and customers. Aspen Heights’ new student living area is one example of how a business can take action.

Aspen Heights recently moved to Columbia, where it established a housing complex for college students with all the corner stone amenities of a modern college living area including a pool, bus to campus, and a movie viewing area. It has been created to give college students the best living experience possible. But, while residents are enjoying the good life, they are also contributing to a good cause.

Through a program set up by Aspen Heights, known as “House for a Home”, a portion of each student’s rent is donated to help those living in “abject poverty” in Africa. The program provides housing and educational opportunities for African children, who otherwise would have nothing. Students also have the opportunity to become more involved with the global initiative by donating tips in addition to their regular monthly rent, as well as joining trips to Africa to see the work being done firsthand.

It’s clear the Aspen Heights of the world are a fast-growing business concept. Aspen Heights’ newest edition in Columbia makes for its eleventh location since starting in 2007. Companies like these make it easy for YAYAs to feel as though they’re contributing to the greater good. Does your business have a social responsibility policy?

Aspen Heights in Africa: The Full Story from Aspen Heights on Vimeo.


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  • Katie Lynn

    As a YAYA consumer I can speak for myself and say I’m way more likely to ascribe to brand if it has socially responsible business practices, and even more likely if that business is actively giving back to the community. Sounds like Aspen Heights has an awesome program going, kind of makes me want to move there.

  • Alli Inglebright

    I think it is great that they have found a way to give back and to include students in that process. However, I’m guessing that students are very aware that Aspen Heights does this, and even uses it as a selling point. I’m worried that the people in Africa are being exploited. I do a lot of community work in Columbia and I get so much out of it I can’t imagine just having a portion of my rent go somewhere and then saying I helped so many people. I don’t get to meet the people, work with or interact with them in any way other than a portion of my rent going to them. For me, community service is about interacting and forming a relationship with the people you are helping.

    Although, at the end of the day they are helping people who need it.

  • Ellen

    I think Alli brings up an interesting point. The overall mission of brands is to make money and to succeed financially, so it is naive to believe that Aspen Heights is giving back simply for the greater good. If they were, they wouldn’t be advertising the program. However, at the end of the day, anything that benefits the less fortunate is a win, I believe. The real issue is when brands or companies aren’t delivering on their social responsibility promises, which raises an entire other area of concern.