Kenan Moos admits that it took him awhile to find his passion in college.
Then, about a year-and-a-half ago, he cofounded the nonprofit Justice Vanguard, which offers workshops and custom curriculum confronting systemic inequality and racial bias.
After that, he said, “I started grinding.”
Now, Moos is on track to graduate from the University of Oregon this spring with a 4.0 GPA and a degree in journalism and advertising, with a minor in entrepreneurship from the Lundquist College of Business. But before he even graduates, the school board in Los Altos, California, will soon vote on adopting curriculum developed by his nonprofit startup.
As Moos puts it, “Justice Vanguard is creating awareness about these different issues: educating for change.”
The goal of the nonprofit, he said, is to create a template that can be use in other districts outside the Los Altos area, throughout California and even, possibly, into Oregon.
In addition to curriculum development, Justice Vanguard works to remove SRO (armed student resource officers) from schools. The nonprofit, launched by Moos and his business partner and childhood friend Kiyoshi Taylor outside of his coursework at the university, was inspired by the struggle for social justice following the death of George Floyd.
The organization also hosts and facilitates educational and community events fostering conversation around race and social justice through historical context, culturally-relevant information, music, and art.
Moos mentioned a few opportunities presented by the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship that he would recommend to other students interested in advancing their startups.
First, the annual student trip, sponsored by the center, to the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas, and the UO Provost’s Innovation Challenge competition, in which Moos was a finalist.
Katherine Harmon, program manager and director of cross-campus engagement for the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship, said, “Both opportunities reflect Kenan’s high-level of engagement in our center’s cocurricular activities and hopefully helped him in the development of his nonprofit.”
More than anything, Moos added that sometimes the college experience is made exceptional by moving beyond the classroom.
“The connections were through school, but the learning was definitely outside the classroom,” Moos said.
—William Kennedy, Lundquist College Communications
Photo courtesy of Justice Vanguard.