By Ivy Sokol '15.5 and Nicole Parma '14, student coordinators of the Ashoka U Exchange
On November 3, Brown celebrated its Ashoka U Changemaker Campus title with the first Changemaker Day, a four-hour mini-conference designed to showcase the many pathways available for students interested in pursuing social innovation on campus and beyond. The event also aimed to build excitement and generate awareness about the upcoming Ashoka U Exchange, which Brown will host on February 20-22, 2014.
After a welcome by the Ashoka U Committee, attendees were given the opportunity to choose between two sessions: BUILD and LEARN. In BUILD, student social entrepreneurs presented their ventures -some brand new, others very established - and engaged in spirited dialogue with the audience. In LEARN, attendees participated in teaser lectures from four inspiring professors teaching social entrepreneurship-related courses in the spring: Alan Harlam (PPAI1710: Social Entrepreneurship), Barrett Hazeltine (ENGN0930: Appropriate Technology), Lisa Dicarlo (SOC1118: Context Research for Innovation), and Ann Dill (SOC1870: Investing in Social Change).
Attendees and guests enjoyed lunch before breaking out into the second set of sessions: IDEATE and PURSUE. Members of Design for America facilitated an idea generation workshop in IDEATE, giving participants the opportunity to explore the journey from idea to venture. Careers in the Common Good advisor Jim Amspacher moderated a panel of alumni professional social entrepreneurs in PURSUE. Andy Posner (Capital Good Fund), Christina Tang (Rainwater for Humanity; Acumen Fellow) and Steve Wallace (Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company) shared inspirational stories, helpful tips, and unique insights into the field of social innovation.
Changemaker Day ended with an exciting raffle whose prizes included several social innovation-related books, coaching sessions with Ashoka staff members, lunches with Ashoka Fellows, and a ticket to the Exchange.