Ballard Center Announces New Club

PROVO, Utah – Oct 05, 2018 – As of this semester, the Nonprofit Management Student Association club is the newest program addition to the Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance.  

The Ballard Center now houses three official clubs for students to get involved in social change: the Changemaker Club, Graduates for Social Innovation, and the Nonprofit Management Student Association. Read below as each of the club presidents provides background information about the club and shares the vision for the coming year.  

Changemaker Club 

The goal of the Changemaker Club is to help educate students about current social issues. Club meetings generally feature a guest speaker or activities to help students learn about the field of social innovation.  

The current president of the Changemaker Club, Johnny McMurray, is an electrical engineering major who joined the Changemaker Club two years ago. “I gravitated toward the Changemaker Club since I didn't come from a business background,” McMurray said. “The club is a way for me to keep my foot in the door of social innovation with the limited amount of time that I have.” 

For Johnny, one of the most memorable guest speakers was from the AMAR Foundation, which works to build self-reliance in Iraqi communities. He plans to invite similarly inspiring guest speakers this fall.  

“The Ballard Center is rewarding because I think about problems differently than I did before, especially in my engineering classes,” McMurray said. “Putting on successful events is rewarding for me.” 

The Changemaker Club is open to students from all majors. The club is currently looking for two additional members for the club leadership. For students looking to get involved with the club, McMurray recommends that students talk personally with one of the presidency members, join the presidency, or volunteer to help with club events.  

Questions? Please email

Graduates for Social Innovation 

The Graduates for Social Innovation (GSI) is open to graduate students from all majors. The club typically meets on a monthly basis and club members are presented with a social issue case study. Club members then brainstorm, create a plan, and present their solutions to each other. 

Olivia Wang, president of GSI, hopes to bring in live case studies this year to provide students with hands-on, real-world experience rather than focusing on theoretical cases. She also hopes to involve students from graduate majors across campus with a particular outreach to international students. She is currently enrolled in the mass communications master’s program at BYU. 

“The club challenged me to think from different perspectives and become a better thinker in general,” said Wang. One of the most meaningful GSI case studies she was involved in was from an NGO that focused on children of urban, working parents in China who were often home alone.   

“I was able to reflect on my own culture and that was a really meaningful experience for me,” Wang said. “Our club, even though it is small, can make a big difference.” 

Questions? Please email

Nonprofit Management Student Association 

The Nonprofit Management Student Association (NMSA) club is the newest addition to the Ballard Center. Previously, the NMSA was supported through the Experience Design and Management department.  

“The NMSA looked for collaborative opportunities,” said Talon Hicken, current president of the club. "It feels good to be here at the Ballard Center.” 

The mission of the NMSA is to develop future leaders of the nonprofit sector. “The NMSA is the first place to go for students who want to start their own nonprofit or join the minor,” Hicken said. “The club is a launchpad to get you to where you want to go.” 

For students who are unsure about their commitment to the nonprofit sector, Hicken recommends that they come to an activity prior to officially joining the club. Students can also request an advisement session with an NMSA student or with Brad Harris, the director of the program. 

Several changes are being implemented this year such as additional student leadership positions and events structured around professional development, alumni relations, and networking among BYU students. Many students in NMSA are also part of the nonprofit minor which gives students the opportunity to become a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP). Once they fulfill the CNP requirements, students are qualified to put “CNP” after their name.  

For Hicken, a neuroscience major who is planning to apply to medical school, the NMSA has been a place for him to implement his love of service and to find life-changing mentors. “I wanted to find good mentors,” Hicken said. “Brad became that advisor and mentor that I needed to do those hard things that I want to do in my life.”  

As a result of his experience in the nonprofit field, Talon is currently working for the Simmons Center for Cancer Research on campus—a perfect combination of his love for service and the medical field.  

“I am excited about the Nonprofit Management Student Association becoming one of our three supported clubs,” said Todd Manwaring, director of the Ballard Center. “The largest majority of recognized, best-in-class social innovators have structured their organizations as nonprofits. The NMSA will bring students who are passionate about nonprofits into the larger Ballard Center network.” 

At the Ballard Center we are proud of all that our clubs are doing to help students champion social innovation and make meaningful connections. For more information about our clubs, please visit  

NMSA club members painted watercolor artwork at their opening social this semester. Attendees were invited to paint their “nonprofit dream” and students focused on issues they care about. This particular student depicted her passion to take care of the earth with her artwork.

Media Contact: Alicia Gettys (801) 422-9009
Writer: Heidi Phelon