Student Spotlight: Adena Rochelson ’21
Hometown: Fayetteville, New York
Major: Supply Chain Management
Minor: Environment and Society
Adena Rochelson has known how to make an impact since the fourth grade. At the time, her mom took her on a tour of St. Lucy’s Food Pantry in Syracuse’s inner city.
She noticed that the shelf designated for personal care items was completely empty and soon learned that these were hard to come by at most food pantries and weren’t covered by food stamps. With her $4.50 allowance and whatever she could scrape up returning bottles and cans, the elementary school student started Operation Soap Dish in 2009 to help get basic necessities to those in need. Soon, however, Rochelson realized that “$4.50 doesn’t solve poverty,” so she started reaching out to schools, other students and the community to gather more donations.
Her passion for this project only grew once she set foot on the Syracuse University campus, as she leveraged her involvement with Enactus to help increase donations. She is a project leader with Enactus, a social entrepreneurship club at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management that runs eight sustainable projects working toward solving both local and global problems.
“The club has created a community of individuals who share a similar passion for giving back, while enhancing projects through entrepreneurial ideas,” Rochelson said.
Recently, she coordinated a toiletry drive through Enactus with Syracuse University athletes. Five-hundred athletes not only donated items, but many also helped count and sort before delivering the supplies to the Samaritan Center, an area soup kitchen, and Vera House, a local shelter for victims of domestic violence. Rochelson guesses that she’s been able to collect about 60,000 items throughout the years. Her passions transferred into her academics, as well, as she quickly made the connection between the logistics of collecting and sorting items with the continuous process of supply chain management and the growing importance of sustainability through her minor in environment and society.
She hopes to expand on these skills when she starts an internship this summer in the supply chain division of Pratt & Whitney, an aerospace manufacturer based in Connecticut, which also happens to have a number of Whitman School alumni working there. Never one to stop moving forward, Rochelson will then take her socially conscious entrepreneurial spirit to Florence, Italy, in the fall of 2019 as part of the SU Abroad program. One can only guess how she will take that experience and make an impact, as well.
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