Beeta Ansari

Beeta is Ashoka U’s Exchange Director, the world’s largest global convening for social entrepreneurship education.

Colorado College and Fordham University Join Ashoka’s Global Network of Changemaker Campuses

Arlington, VA (July 1st 2014)Colorado College and Fordham University have been selected by Ashoka U as the two newest Changemaker Campuses. They join a diverse group of colleges and universities around the world setting the standard of excellence in social entrepreneurship education around the world.

Since it’s founding in 2008, Ashoka U has been a leader in promoting and supporting social innovation education. To this end, the Changemaker Campus consortium is a global network of colleges and universities who commit to advancing social innovation at their institution, from admissions and curriculum, to career services and alumni engagement. Over the last six years, 26 colleges and universities in fifteen states and five countries have become Changemaker Campuses including Brown, Duke, Dublin City University, Arizona State, and the University of Maryland. Colorado College and Fordham University now join this network after completing a rigorous selection process which includes of assessments, interviews, site visits, and strategy sessions.

Fordham University, a Jesuit school in the heart of the Bronx, has a long tradition of deep community engagement, commitment to social justice, and religious dialogue. More recently, it has expanded its research into areas such as technology, environmental protection and healthcare. “The service-learning program at Fordham is deeply embedded into the campus culture, and that’s a hugely important foundation on which to build new social entrepreneurship,” said Ashoka U Co-Founder and Executive Director, Marina Kim, in a recent press release.

The newly formed “Fordham Social Innovation Collaboratory” will act as a unifying structure across the institution, tying together a range of departments and programs with a common interest in solving social problems through innovation. “The whole idea of social innovation is something that Fordham, as a Jesuit institution, has been a part of for almost 175 years,” says Ron Jacobson, Associate Vice President, “and I think this is just another way of reaffirming the mission of the University. It’s going to break down some of the artificial walls that exist.”

The second designee, hailing from the Rocky Mountain west, has innovation baked into its curricular model. Pioneers of the “Block Plan,” students at Colorado College take just one course at a time, for three and a half weeks. This structure allows them to delve into the depth and nuance of a subject, and facilitates student innovation. As Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler explains, “Our students take the initiative to accomplish extraordinary things – in fact, we see it time and again. At Colorado College, the spirit of innovation and social entrepreneurship runs deep, and we are proud to be recognized as a Changemaker Campus by Ashoka U.”

Under the leadership of Tiefenthaler, Colorado College recently announced a plan to launch its own Innovation Institute, building off of its nationally recognized State of the Rockies Project and Public Interest Fellowship Program. As Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler puts it, it is only “together [that] we will build stronger, more vibrant communities and empower the future leaders of social change who are determined to find solutions to world’s most pressing problems.”

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About Ashoka:
Founded by Bill Drayton in 1980, Ashoka has elected and supported over 3,000 Fellows – social entrepreneurs with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems – in over 70 countries. Ashoka’s support includes start-up financing, professional support services, and connections to their global network of Ashoka Fellows. Ashoka envisions an Everyone a Changemaker world, capable of responding quickly and effectively to social challenges, and in which each individual has the freedom, confidence and societal support to address any social problem and drive change.

About Ashoka U
Ashoka U is an initiative of Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs, that catalyzes social innovation in higher education through a global network of entrepreneurial students, faculty and community leaders. Building on Ashoka’s vision for a world where Everyone is a Changemaker, Ashoka U takes an institutional change approach to impact the education of millions of students. Ashoka U helps break down barriers to institutional change and fosters a culture of social innovation in higher education. Their global network of 150 colleges and universities is advancing an education that develops interdisciplinary, entrepreneurial, and solutions-oriented skills.