Haverford Effective Altruism (HEA) is a student club inspired by the social and philosophical movement of “effective altruism,” which utilizes logic, reason, and evidence to find the best ways to give back and improve the world.
What: Haverford Effective Altruism aims to increase awareness of its titular movement and to discuss useful methods to help other people. Another important part of the philosophy that the club emphasizes is the motivation and desire to change the world through effective altruism while having fun.
Who: The club’s current co-heads are Arjun Khandelwal ’17 and Maria-Veronica Rojas ’19.
When: Khandelwal started the club in Spring 2015, after learning of the movement during the previous summer. He found effective altruism “potentially life-changing” after attending events held by a similar club at the University of Pennsylvania. Haverford Effective Altruism now meets Monday nights from 10-11 in L205 in the KINSC. Meetings are “pretty informal and really just for people interested in making the world a better place,” says Khandelwal.
Did you know: The club hosted two events, in particular, last semester that received a lot of notice. The first was an introduction to effective altruism by Julia Wise BMC ’07 and Jeff Kaufman Swat ’08, a well-known Boston-based couple who donate 50 percent of their income to some of the most effective charities in the world. They’ve been the subjects of several articles, television interviews, and even a few books. The second was a talk by visitors from a nonprofit in Oxford, England, called 80,000 Hours. “They’ve been researching career advice for altruistically minded people for four years and have significantly changed the career plans of more than 150 people, mostly undergraduates, already,” says Khandelwal. “The talk was aimed at college students trying to use their careers to help the world, and several people told us that it was very interesting and educational!”
Still to come: “We will continue to host interesting speakers this semester as well,” says Khandelwal. On February 22, HEA hosted a talk by Drexel professor and longtime animal-rights advocate Harish Sethu, “Who We Eat (And Why We Should Care).” Sethu (pictured above during his on-campus talk) discussed scientific evidence that the animals we eat have the capacity to suffer, why it matters, and whether donating to animal charities actually contributes to reducing animal suffering. The club is also planning to bring Peter Singer, whom The New Yorker called the “most influential living philosopher,” to campus in early fall.