Grant Schroll, ’13, came to U-M to study engineering. His analytical and problem solving skills pushed him in that direction, with eyes towards the auto industry. However, the experiences he had on campus led him to working with students, rather than engines.
“What I began to realize is that my story is not at all unique,” Schroll said, referring to his change of heart in career paths. “There are students all over this campus, and across campuses all over the country, who show up with lots of ambition and lots of strengths, but they lack the framework or insight to figure out where that all will take them.”
It was out of a passion for education and a desire to change the world that Schroll, an Alumni Association member, founded Beyond Bounds, an organization dedicated to helping undergraduate students get the most out of their education. According to Schroll, experiential learning is the most powerful way that students figure out what they want to deliver to the world.
Before school starts, students attend a week-long retreat to build the community and encourage self-reflection. Once school begins, there are weekly events supporting the four pillars of the organization.. To that end, Beyond Bounds has created a yearlong program to help students connect their passions with a meaningful life trajectory.
- Discovery: All about looking inwards and to the past so you can move forward. For example, outlining your life story.
- Expansion: Creating skillsets that aren’t commonly taught. For example, participants find pain points in everyday life and offer solutions.
- Connection: Meeting people and learning about opportunities. Guest leaders such as student leaders or CEOs share their stories.
- Action: The most important pillar. These events give students the tools to find experiences that are personal and formative, so they can gain knowledge about what they really want.
In Schroll’s words, they are adding value to an ecosystem (universities) that don’t have the capacity to personalize education for each student.
“This is leading toward a shift in what higher education is all about. At the end of the day, if universities were able to do a better job of creating individualized support for students–such that they can not only get a degree, but more importantly, find something that they are passionate about—we wouldn’t need to exist.“
To that end, Beyond Bounds has forged partnerships with several university units. LS&A was one of their early supporters. Student Life paid for them to do a pilot program. Several other departments, such as the College of Engineering and the Provost’s Office, are engaged in talks with the organization.
“This university and our organization are all about creating value wherever we can … we are both all about creating the best practices and sharing them with the world.”
Student applications for next year’s program open in March. For more information, visit their website.