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COVE Encourages Social Entrepreneurship

By Contributing Writer on August 27, 2013


In Fiscal Year ’13, COVE expanded on its mission to cultivate a community of students who will be leaders in social responsibility and community engagement by launching a Social Innovation Initiative, designed to support students in the pursuit of innovative, transformative, and sustainable solutions to social problems.

We believe that the problems facing today’s world are more complex than ever before, and solutions require interdisciplinary thinking and cross-sector collaboration. More than 100 students participated in the initiative throughout the year gaining skills in new ways to positively impact the world. 

StartUp Experience
The Max Shacknai COVE partnered with the Thought Into Action program and the Robert A. Fox Leadership Institute to bring the StartUp Experience to campus. The StartUp Experience is an experiential entrepreneurship education program designed to train young people in the art of high-impact entrepreneurship and user-driven innovation.

The participants competed in teams to identify a specific user need, screen relevant technologies, generate ideas, and conceptualize a solution. Then, they set out to find a sustainable business model and use visual communication and prototyping to pitch the idea to the jury at the end of the workshop. Watch a video about the event.

Participants reported a very high level of improved understanding of ideation and social entrepreneurship as a result of participation.

Speaker series
The COVE’s social entrepreneurship speaker series put Colgate community members and other friends on stage to address students. Guests included:

  • L. Kevin Morrison ’92, involved in social entrepreneurship through his organization providing aquaponic technology to developing communities globally
  • Dr. Ramaswami Balusubramaniam, founder of a large organization in India engaging in public health, civil society, environmental, religious, cultural and economic development initiatives
  • Andrew Lunetta, a LeMoyne College student who founded a social venture that connects homeless individuals with bikes and creates a social network
  • Amy Jurkowitz ’85, Founder and CEO of Milkshake, an website and daily e-mail that features products, people, initiatives, events, and services that not only are innovative, unique, and desired, but focus on the triple-bottom line (people, planet, and profits). View her Little Talk at Colgate University.

Creativity and Innovation, Inc. Mini-Conference
Jennifer Lopez, Stanford Design School and Purin Phanichphant, IDEO, introduced students to the power that design thinking, prototyping, storytelling, and leadership have to inspire change in tomorrow’s organizations and teams. Sessions included case studies of startups and social innovation companies, Catalyzing Innovation, Leading with Design, Design Thinking 2.0 (Empathy, Ideation, Prototyping), The Power of Storytelling, and Launching Your Idea.

New York City Alternative Break Trip
Ten students spent one week in New York City during spring break, meeting with and learning about large corporations and startups focused on social innovation along the whole spectrum of involvement in the social innovation space.

The week consisted of meetings with organizations that are making real strides in community engagement, social responsibility, and social innovation, such as Do Something, Google, Pearson, the National Football League, J.P. Morgan Chase, Deloitte, IDEO, Kenneth Cole, Vision Spring and TYTHE Design.

Students were also able to meet with Colgate alumni who are actively involved in socially innovative ventures to gain insight into the realities of pursuing their passions professionally.

“Seeing how large-scale companies incorporate social responsibility into their corporate culture showed all of us that it is possible to create positive social good while still making a profit,” said Rachel Simon ’13. “This is something that I believe should and will become increasingly prevalent within for-profit corporations in the near future.”

Extreme By Design
The Max Shacknai COVE presented advance film screening of Extreme By Design, a documentary film that will air nationally on PBS this fall. The feature follows a band of college students who, using a radical new design approach, make life-changing products for the world’s poor. The screening was followed by a live chat with the film’s producer and director, Ralph King.

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