I’ve asked myself, “Why do I work for Kuali? What is my purpose? What is Kuali Build’s purpose? What is Kuali’s purpose for existing?

Initially, last year, I came to Kuali to be part of a product I believed in.

Now, when I think of Kuali and our mission to make the world a better place by simplifying processes for students, faculty, and admins so they can do what they do best, I think of how we are facilitating their missions to educate and innovate—to resolve the world’s most difficult challenges.

So, for me, this is about people. We must be about people.

Last semester, a student wrote about a horrific experience:

“I run, desperate to reach my burning home. A blood-curdling scream splits into the sweltering heat. It’s my scream. My legs keep running as I listen to the shriek. Pain receptors have alerted my nervous system of an emergency but I feel nothing. I come to a stop though my heart continues to race. I had sprinted across a large pile of grey dirt. My family had previously burned bits of brush on this exact spot many times. I had assumed it was just cold dirt, but the grey ash and coals had metamorphosed into searing embers and the soles of my feet were instantly gone, skin curling up to the ankles.”

This is who we are serving.

In the course of another semester, the personal essays included:

2 students whose fathers had died tragically.
1 student who had been violently raped.
1 student who had attempted suicide.
1 student who had held his brother as he died.
1 student whose parents had disowned her—she was alone in the world.
3 students who suffered from debilitating anxiety.

I had a conversation with one student who, as he puts it, was raised in a very Nordic home in Texas where he was taught–we only care about our own. “It’s one of my greatest challenges. How do I make it in this world, Liz?” He asked. “I want to be more inviting, more loving. I want to care about other people I don’t know.” How—he wonders—can he overcome the polarizing context of his upbringing?

As a company, if we forget the details of the people we serve, then we have lost our mission. If we, as Kuali, say that we serve higher ed institutions, then we must be about the people we serve—we must be about connecting people. Institutions of Higher Education are microcosms of the pains of the world at large. But they are also unique in their demographics.

Traditional students are trying to become adults in a world that has been built to defeat them—a competition and survival of the fittest.

Non-traditional students enroll to put their lives back together—to try to make something whole from the fragments that remain.

We, Kuali, believe that we can, in our small way, alleviate the added frustrations and pains associated with institutional bureaucracy—using technology to create a clear and smooth path, taking on ourselves the burden of the building and maintenance of institutional systems, so they can be free to fulfill their own missions.

Kuali is about people, connecting people.
Kuali exists to help others fulfill their missions.
Kuali exists to smooth the way for those who are discovering the world—a bright, beautiful, dangerous, angry world.

I want to be part of that discovery.

Author Liz Christianson

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