Up Close With DANIEL MACKETT (WISCONSIN '15)
While attending a Christian College Conference in Atlanta three years ago, Wisconsin Evans Scholar Daniel Mackett heard stories that were, at once, harrowing, unsettling and infuriating.
The topic was human trafficking, a global scourge described by the United Nations as “modern-day slavery,” and Daniel promised himself he would do whatever he could to end it.
Upon returning to Madison, he began fundraising and raising awareness for various nonprofit organizations dedicated to eradicating human trafficking, but felt he could do more.
His most recent contribution to the fight would instead come from a single cup of coffee.
In a corner of a student lounge on Wisconsin’s Madison campus, Daniel operates A Just Brew, a pop-up coffee shop that pours ethically-sourced coffee in exchange for donations to the International Justice Mission. The Washington-based nonprofit operates in countries all over the world to rescue victims of human rights abuse.
Supporting this important cause in a unique way proved to be a perfect marriage of two of Daniel’s other interests – entrepreneurship and great coffee.
“When I was brainstorming new ways to continue fundraising for these organizations, I kept coming back to this idea of combining it with my passion for quality coffee,” said Daniel, a senior studying marketing, operations and technology management. “I realized I could use my love for coffee, which itself is related to issues of global economic justice, to raise money for International Justice Mission.”
Specializing in supply chain management, A Just Brew has also given Daniel a chance to put his coursework to use.
“I have learned so much about managing a supplier relationship with our coffee roaster, pitching various companies and organizations to get their support and what it means to engage your customers,” Daniel said. “It’s helped me realize that nothing can be accomplished in business without a great support system.”
A Just Brew has gone from a finals week experiment to a campus mainstay with a following on social media, much to the surprise of its founder.
“People seem to really like the idea of connecting an everyday activity, like drinking a cup of coffee, to helping those in need,” Daniel said. “It’s so important to me that we all begin realizing that the small decisions we make every day have huge and lasting impacts around the world.”
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COMMITTED TO THE CAUSE
In 2013, Daniel accompanied the International Justice Mission on a nine-day trip to the Philippines, where he spent time at two of the organization’s field offices and two rescue shelters.
The experience cemented his commitment to help end human trafficking.
“We spent the day playing games, doing crafts and talking to girls rescued from sex traffickers,” he said. “It was one of the most eye-opening and life-changing trips of my life.”
HANDY IN THE KITCHEN
When he’s not brewing coffee for his customers at A Just Brew, Daniel can found in the kitchen putting his culinary skills and knowledge to good use.
“I really love making meals for my friends and family,” he said. “One of my favorite foods to make are crepes.”
A LOYAL CADDIE
When the Western Junior was played at Daniel’s home club, Blue Mound Golf and Country Club, in 2010, he caddied for and befriended Will Murphy, a decorated amateur golfer who just finished his senior season at the University of South Carolina in 2014.
“I didn’t know him at all prior to the tournament,” Daniel said. “He is now a great friend and someone I’ve been blessed to stay in contact with over the last six years.”