A growing group at McMaster is helping students find meaningful careers

Amarah Hasham-Steele
March 31, 2022
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

C/O Effective Altruism McMaster

McMaster students get involved with the Effective Altruism movement to discover the career paths that enable them to do the most good

Effective Altruism is a social and philosophical movement focused on helping people have positive impacts on the world, both in their careers and in their lives generally. This movement began at Oxford University and has since amassed a number of chapters around the world.  

Wim Howson Creutzberg, a second-year student at McMaster and co-president of the Effective Altruism McMaster chapter, explained that Effective Altruism attempts to use logic and reason to discover the most impactful ways to help others.  

“We try to question conventional understandings of what the best ways to do good are, or even what good is. And, as it turns out, some ways of helping other people are way more impactful than others and so we do them,” said Creutzberg. 

“We try to question conventional understandings of what the best ways to do good are, or even what good is. And, as it turns out, some ways of helping other people are way more impactful than others and so we do them."

Wim Howson Creutzberg, Co-president of Effective Altruism McMaster

For example, according to Creutzberg, the Effective Altruism movement has been advocating for increased resource allocation towards pandemic prevention and mitigation since before the COVID-19 pandemic began.  

More generally, Creutzberg also explained how the movement has investigated what makes charities most effective at helping people. Thinkers in the movement have analyzed numerous charities and determined which ones are most effective, so that people donating to charities can consider how to have the greatest impact with their donations.   

Thinkers in the movement have analyzed numerous charities and determined which ones are most effective, so that people donating to charities can consider how to have the greatest impact with their donations.  

Effective Altruism is a relatively new movement, with Giving What We Can, the first international Effective Altruism movement, launching in 2009. According to Creutzberg, the McMaster chapter of Effective Altruism is even newer.  

“We're really excited about this stuff because what we’ve realized is that, even as university students, our potential to do good is kind of crazy,” said Creutzberg. 

While the Effective Altruism group at McMaster is not currently ratified as a club, they are hoping to achieve this status in the future. They have other future ambitions as well, such as potentially developing a small course for McMaster students who are interested in the movement.  

“There's a lot of ground to cover when you start [introducing a] movement and sometimes a self-directed approach is better for some people, [whereas] sometimes being systematically introduced to ideas can be really helpful,” said Creutzberg.  

Creutzberg described the Effective Altruism group at McMaster as a small but rapidly growing group of students who meet to discuss how they can have the most positive impact on the world.  

“I think it could help ambitious students find meaningful careers and interesting and genuinely valuable ways to spend their time and money. And I think that could, at the very least, enrich the discussion around trying to create a better world,” said Creutzberg.  

“I think it could help ambitious students find meaningful careers and interesting and genuinely valuable ways to spend their time and money. And I think that could, at the very least, enrich the discussion around trying to create a better world."

Wim Howson Creutzberg, Co-president of Effective Altruism McMaster

Emphasizing the potential of the Effective Altruism chapter at McMaster, Creutzberg said that the movement can impact the lives of students by helping them decide where to direct their energy for meaningful action. 

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