Beeta Ansari

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

Tulane University: Evolution of a Campus

“Really, we had no choice,” President Scott Cowen writes. “The fates of the university and the city were one and the same.” In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, Tulane University was faced with a choice: it could admit defeat and recede, along with the waters of the Gulf, or it could seize the moment; turning tragedy into opportunity and hope by redefining it’s role as a learning institution.

In 2009 Tulane University joined Ashoka U as a Changemaker Campus. Led by Change Leader Stephanie Barksdale and with the full support of President Cowen, Tulane was able to achieve not only rapid, but also effective inroads in social entrepreneurship education. Their faculty now boasts five professors and 16 student leaders actively involved in teaching and spreading social entrepreneurship throughout Tulane and the greater New Orleans community.

Most recently, Tulane was able to bring on an Ashoka Fellow, Rick Aubry, as the university’s very first Assistant Provost for Civic Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship, working to further Tulane’s community outreach efforts. Mr. Aubry was the founder and CEO of Rubicon National Social Innovations. Rubicon was a pioneer in changing the field of social entrepreneurship by demonstrating the potential of holistic models and social business ventures as tools for poverty alleviation.

Tulane University made the deliberate choice to change what it means to get a college education in the United States; while at the university, students are taught how to be effective innovators, community leaders and citizens. As a result, students are equipped to become the next generation of Changemakers, facing society’s social problems head-on.

You can read more about Rick’s past work and his vision for Tulane’s role in social entrepreneurship education here.