I have a confession to make—I like the taste of insects. OK, so it’s not quite the same thing as eating an ant off the ground, but I recently had a snack bar made of powdered cricket flour, and it was actually pretty good. The company that produces it, Chapul, wasn’t the only bug-based cuisine company represented at the recent 2013 Net Impact Conference, either. Hult Prize winner Aspire Food Group fosters the production of grasshopper snacks in Mexico, and was also at the conference. Both companies discovered that the protein and micronutrient benefits of insects could be a powerful way to fight hunger and malnutrition, and at a fraction of the proportional water usage that traditional livestock require.

Net Impact Conference - Chapul
A rep from Chapul sells snack bars made from dried cricket flour during the conference expo.

I’m sure there are plenty of people who would not be surprised that attendees of a social business conference were standing around eating bugs, but prior to attending the Net Impact Conference in San Jose, California, from October 24-26, I wouldn’t have guessed that crickets would be on the menu. At the conference, dozens of companies were present, each highlighting a better way of doing things — for example, a better way to nourish people (Chapul and Aspire Food Group), a better way to monitor a telecom supply chain (Sprint), a better way to address traveler’s housing needs (Airbnb), and many more.

Fuqua Represents

Net Impact Conference - Michelle & Jen
Michelle Kirby (left) and Jen Fluder (right) are co-presidents of the Fuqua Net Impact chapter, which was named top 3 in the country!

Despite the fact that the conference was held across the country in California, Fuqua proudly fielded the largest number of attendees from any graduate program. This plucky bunch included many of the Fuqua Net Impact cabinet members, as well as first-years who had attended this year’s social impact Week-in-Cities in San Francisco. I actually attended the conference for the second time (read about last year’s experience). The Fuqua crew also had the added bonus of learning that Fuqua Net Impact was named one of the top 3 graduate school Net Impact chapters in the nation, for the second year in a row!

After the conference, we now have hundreds more examples of how to make a positive impact on the world through whichever sector we may end up in when we graduate. And since I learned at this conference that millennials are likely to change careers 3 times, let’s shoot to have impact in whatever sector we’re in 5 years after graduation, as well.