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U-Maryland’s Do Good Institute Puts Progress on the Syllabus with Nathan Dietz & Jenny Cox (Episode #157)

The University of Maryland and its Do Good Institute is on the leading edge of a little-known, but titanic and positive shift. Turns out, student expectations are changing in a momentous way: Gen Z has aspirations that may make them the most positively impactful generation in history. Today we talk to the Do Good Institute’s Jenny Cox and Nathan Deitz about this shift and get some stories from this leading edge.

Episode Highlight


About Our Guest:

There is a narrative throughout our country right now that our future is doomed if left in the hands of the current college-aged population called Gen Z (also called zoomers, or post-millennials.) I could go on about the stereotyping and myths, but you probably have heard the name calling and critics on this.

Here’s the good news: in our experience, and according to a lot of experts and data science, that narrative is dead wrong. 

Turns out, Gen Z’ers—people born between the late 1990s and early 2010s—are changing the face of huge cultural foundations like commitment to serving others, social entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and volunteerism. 

Simply put, more and more, college students every year express—and act on—their commitment to incorporate “the greater good” into their education and they are preparing to lead working lives that serve the goal of creating a better world in some way.

Considering that Gen Z makes up 20% of the U.S. population, this bodes well for the future. In this episode of the Conspiracy of Goodness Podcast, we talk to two thought leaders who are deep in the trenches with this cultural shift, supporting a culture of “Doing Good” that is sweeping through the education community at the University of Maryland and beyond. 

The University of Maryland has supported the sparks of this wave as early as September 2016. They recognized the momentum and success of their Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, the Do Good Institute was launched, transforming the University of Maryland into the nation’s first “Do Good campus”.

I haven’t seen much of this reported in major news yet, but given our 10-year commitment to curating the internet for signs of goodness and progress at the Goodness Exchange, our team has a history of seeing positive developments very early on. 

This may be one of those tipping point moments, just about to break open a new era.

In fact, it doesn’t surprise our team because it feels like it coincides perfectly with this wave of goodness and progress, well underway in the world, that we’ve been shining a light on for a decade!

Thank you to the students, faculty and entire U-Maryland community for leading a movement that is likely to sweep through higher education to meet the inspiring demands of Gen Z’ers everywhere. 

THIS is the kind of domino effect we can all celebrate. 

Resources Mentioned:

If you want to dive deeper into any of the many stories and organizations that we mention in this episode, here’s a strong list of links: 

Do Good Institute Website

Change the World Exhibit

Food Recovery Network Website (What Happens to All the Leftovers) 

1000 Schools Website (Grilled Cheese Story) 

Get Ovary It Website

University of Maryland Website

The State of Volunteer Engagement: Insights from Nonprofit Leaders and Funders


  • 00:00 Intro & Welcome
  • 02:54 What Do College Students Want
  • 09:40 University of Maryland.
  • 11:28 Facts & Trends 
  • 19:35 Break
  • 22:34 Legacy Stories
  • 30:00 Values Driven Consumers
  • 37:19 The Future of Education
  • 46:37 Jobs Today vs Jobs Yesterday
  • 51:17 Busted Myths
  • 54:27 What Do You Wish People Knew?
  • 1:01:28 Closing

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