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The Collective Project highlights Penn State student’s 'Ripple Effect'

Penn State Schreyer Honors College Scholar Neha Gupta, founder of Empower Orphans
March 18, 2015

Penn State student and Schreyer Honors College scholar Neha Gupta has been selected as one of three students from across the country to be featured in The Collective Project.

Sponsored by Microsoft OneNote, The Collective Project highlights the impact of collaboration for the benefit of others.

“It’s one thing for brands to tell stories,” said Josh Schmiesing, senior vice president of Microsoft’s POSSIBLE brand. “It’s something much more powerful when brands do stories that get communities involved and take ideas to a new level. Microsoft wanted The Collective Project to bring light to Neha and Empower Orphans.”

At the age of 9, after selling all of her toys to raise money for orphans in her grandparents’ native India, Gupta started Empower Orphans, a nonprofit organization that supports orphaned and abandoned children in India and the United States. To date, the charity has raised more than $1.3 million and has helped more than 25,000 children. The success of Empower Orphans has shown Gupta how one person can make a difference in the lives of others.

“Imagine throwing a pebble into a pond. The first ripple is small. But then you watch in awe as the ripples become larger and larger,” she said during her 2014 International Children’s Peace Prize acceptance speech. “And just so is the impact of one person with an idea or mission that speaks to the heart.”

On Tuesday, March 17, Penn State students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to make their own ripple effect when The Collective Project visits the University Park campus to help Gupta raise awareness for Empower Orphans.

The Collective Project’s #RippleEffect event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Heritage Hall at the HUB-Robeson Center. Throughout the day, “good deed ambassadors” will be seen around campus performing random acts of kindness and encouraging others to do the same by selecting an act of kindness from a “good deed wall.” Participants can share their experiences on social media and see how large the ripple grows by using the hashtags #RippleEffect and #CollectiveProject.

In addition to paying it forward, visitors will have the opportunity to make monetary donations to Gupta’s organization. Ripple effect T-shirts also will be available for purchase with all proceeds benefiting Empower Orphans.

“It is our time to be the igniters of change,” Gupta said. “Convert your empathy into actions. And then let those actions ripple out.”

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