What is a Pivotal Place?

Our name, Pivotal Places, encompasses what we aim to accomplish and represents four essential definitions that we built our organization around


The first definition of a pivotal place represents where we aim to work. We aim to research and implement action-based projects in areas that are the crux between socio-economic and environmental challenges. Our original pivotal place is the greater Kruger National Park region where communities are living right along the border of one of the largest game reserves in southern Africa. These are places that are facing complex, multi-faceted challenges that we believe are important to study and focus our efforts on.

Our second definition of a pivotal place is the partnership between community empowerment and resilient conservation. The need to connect social and environmental elements is not novel, but we believe that it is a critical component to implementing real and sustainable programs and projects. This definition is built upon the basic ideas of Communities and Conservation - humans are the agents of change within these systems and considering the social components of the system is crucial to the success of projects that we aim to implement.

The third definition of a pivotal place represents our origin in study abroad and our connection with the University. We aim to offer a unique opportunity for students to be involved in the management of a functional non-profit organization. By translating what students learn abroad into actionable change, we are able to provide a platform to both build leadership potential and offer real-world experience. This can add immense value to the traditional experience that undergraduate students normally have.

Our final definition of a pivotal place leans into what we actually aim to do as an organization - to directly link sound research to sustainable development solutions.