2011 was defined by political unrest, economic challenges and environmental crises on a global level. Three iron-fisted rulers were removed by the Arab Spring, and a devastating earthquake in Japan led to massive radiation exposure. Occupy Wall Street was a historic, international protest. 2011 was the year that revolutionized the idea of social changeAnd I ran with it.

This momentum will continue through 2012. All signs are positive, as Walden University’s Social Change Impact Report confirms. These results demonstrate the importance and commitment of people to social change. More than 92% of Americans have engaged in positive social change over the past year, and more than 50% are committed to future positive change.

“Around the world, people are ‘thinking globally and acting locally,'”Jonathan Kaplan is the president of Walden University. “People have a strong belief in their own power to effect positive social change and make a difference.”

According to the Social Change Impact Report, nearly 9/10 Americans (88%) believe that the best way for them to have an effect on the world is at the local level. Individuals have more opportunities than ever to make a positive difference in their local communities and the world. This is at a time when many families are struggling and there are fewer resources to help them.

Walden University has five practical tips to encourage citizens in 2012 to take part.

1. 1. Think about the positive social change that you desire to make.

2. Consider what skills and expertise you have that can be used to address a specific need.

3. Combine your passions and skills with your dedication to serving others.

4. Look into ways that your company can get involved in the local community.

5. You can find a resource to match your skills with an organization.

To see more details from the Social Change Impact Report, visit WaldenU.edu/impactreport, and for volunteer opportunities, visit WaldenU.edu/servicenetwork.