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Here Are the Best Colleges for Students Looking to Make an Impact

Surveys have shown that today's college-aged individuals are more socially conscious than the generations that came before them (and in turn, are looking for similar priorities in their employers). According to a report by the Pew Research Center, they are also on their way to becoming part of the most educated generation in history. It makes sense then that Millennials would consider a college's opportunities for making an impact when deciding where to enroll.

As part of the Princeton Review's recently published "Colleges That Pay You Back: 2016 Edition," they compiled a list of the best schools for prospective students looking to make a difference in the world. The University of North Carolina at Asheville topped the list. According to Business Insider, UNC stands out for its civically-engaged students and environmental efforts. Twice a year, the school hosts Greenfest, a festival on sustainability that in the past has featured a farm-to-table dinner on the quad and panels of alumni working in sustainability [PDF].

The other colleges that broke the top five were Macalester College, Clark University, Oberlin College, and Furman University. 

To decide the rankings, students around the country were surveyed to see how their schools stacked up in terms of student government, sustainability efforts, and community service. In addition to evaluating current student bodies, Princeton Review also checked to see if the trends carried over into post-grad life. To do this they looked at PayScale.com's reported percentage of alumni who cited having meaningful jobs. You can view the full list of impactful institutions on Princeton Review.

[h/t Business Insider]

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holidays
Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
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Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

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The U.S. Postal Service Is Making Holiday Dreams Come True, One Letter at a Time
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Each Christmas season, the United States Postal Service (USPS) receives millions of letters from kids writing to Santa Claus. To help make children's holidays brighter, the postal service runs “Operation Santa,” a program that allows members of the public to play St. Nick and pen responses.

The USPS first began receiving Santa letters more than 100 years ago. In 1912, Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock gave local postmasters the go-ahead to open and reply to these missives; by the 1940s, charities, corporations, and volunteers were also providing responses and sending gifts to kids.

Today, the Operation Santa program is headquartered in the James A. Farley Post Office Building (the main USPS building in New York City) and has select satellite locations across the U.S.—and a brand-new website and platform is helping do-gooders around the country spread holiday cheer by allowing them to “adopt” a letter online.

Visit Operation Santa’s website, and browse the virtual mailroom to select a letter. Choose one you love, and the USPS will email you a letter ID. Write a response or send a gift (or both!), and bring your package or letter to the nearest drop-off location. In place of an address in the upper left-hand corner, use the provided ID number (this protects people's identities), and be prepared to provide both a completed Adopter Form and a photo ID [PDF].

Not all post offices participate in Operation Santa, as some might not have the requisite facilities, staff, or location to join the program. To see if your neighborhood location is joining in the fun this year, visit Operation Santa’s website for a list of registered locations.

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