Columns, Opinion

RUTH: #Half2Home

Too often, college students are faced with the perilous question, “what will you do after graduation?” And it doesn’t make it any better when that question surfaces on daily as you near the end of your education at Boston University.

If you’re like College of Communication junior Benjamin Masters, then you’ve decided that you’re not going to wait around for someone to deem you a worthy fit in their company— you’re going to make your own.

Projected to kick-off in early summer, Commonwealth Bag Company is a for-profit company that plans to make a difference one bag at a time. With their sleek black and white logo, Commonwealth Bag Co. asserts their simplistic bag design, which represents the nature of the company.

Ben was inspired to make a difference after his long-term involvement in Gemma’s Angels — a family-run charity in his hometown of Hershey, Pa., that raises money to deliver fresh produce to local shelters. This peaked his interest in creating a for-profit company to battle hunger.

“Starting this for-profit company made me realize how much people are in it for the monetary gain,” Masters said. “If a company like TOMS can be successful with charitable causes ingrained in it, then anyone can be successful. Its not about the money, it’s about making a difference and creating something that makes the world a better place.”

Each backpack is made of a well-made canvas equipped with a stylish, nylon drawstring. With the purchase of one of these backpacks, half of the money goes to the buyer’s local food bank. That’s right. You get to choose exactly where that money will be spent. It’s going to somewhere that you care about — your local community.

Ben and his friend fellow classmate Emily Korman have learned that incorporating sustainability in the development of a company is not as easy as they originally thought – but they are willing to take on the challenge.

“It’s difficult to convince someone to start their company on eco-friendly principles,” Korman explained. “Especially when it’s not going to be helpful short term monetarily, but it will be beneficial in the long run.”

She joked, “I tried to convince him to go dumpster diving and try to find recyclable things.”

The company is heavily focused on one word: local. In fact, the first prototypes and incarnations were sewed by his mom at the dining room table and the company that produces the backpacks is close to his hometown, so that cuts down on transportation-related emissions.

So far, the target audience is college students in Boston, which lends itself to a diverse array of food bank locations. Students that purchase the bags and donate the proceeds to their local food bank will contribute to spreading generosity countrywide and even worldwide.

With Commonwealth Bag Co.’s slogan #Half2Home, it’s easy to see that this organization is based on giving back to the community. Fifty percent of your proceeds make a 100 percent difference in your hometown. And home is where the heart is.

Jennifer Ruth is a College of Arts and Sciences junior. She can be reached at [email protected].

If you are interested in ordering a backpack, please feel free to contact [email protected]


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