What’s the difference between the Commons and the Changemaker Campus Designation?

Participation in the Commons and Changemaker Campus do not have to be mutually exclusive, because the programs’ goals are actually quite different. While the Commons is a deep dive into specific challenges with peers and a coach from the network, the Changemaker Campus program is focused on developing a comprehensive, campus-wide social innovation ecosystem while working closely with Ashoka U. The Commons is more similar to a semester-long project in that it is undertaken by one or a few individuals for an established period of time, while the Changemaker Campus designation is more aligned with strategic planning and broad stakeholder engagement. Further, before beginning the Changemaker Campus selection process institutions must have a range of social innovation education programming. That said, it is often appropriate for an institution complete at least one Commons cohort based on key areas for growth before embarking on the longer, more comprehensive Changemaker Campus selection process.

Why does the Commons have a cohort model?

Ashoka U, and Ashoka more broadly, has a long and storied history of excellence in selection. One of the key benefits of participating in the Commons is a shared learning journey with a curated group of peers facing similar challenges in building social innovation education. Participants will also be able to draw on Ashoka U’s experience working with over 250 higher education institutions globally, field-level resources developed by the team, and perhaps most importantly one to two coaches that have specific experience in the cohort’s thematic area.

What are the benefits of the Commons?

Participation in the Commons is a professional development experience around the building blocks of a changemaking education. It includes curated connections to peers, a framework for project development, valuable resources, and the guidance of an experienced Coach. The Commons also unlocks access to Ashoka U’s broader network of over 250 global higher education institutions and can be a stepping stone towards the Changemaker Campus designation.

How many times should I participate in the Commons?

There’s no right answer because it depends on what you are interested in learning and the current state of the social innovation ecosystem on your campus. The Commons may be part of a path towards the Changemaker Campus designation, it may be a refresher for those within the Changemaker Campus network, or it could simply be a one-time engagement for those interested in the subject.

Can I participate in multiple cohorts at the same time?

Individuals may only participate in one cohort at a time, as the time investment is significant. However, individuals may join as many cohorts as desired over time and institutions may have different individuals participate in separate cohorts simultaneously.

Can I be a Coach?

Anyone may apply to serve as a primary or Spotlight Coach. There will be two application windows each year, noted under the Coaches portion of this site.

Other Questions

Contact Ali Fraenkel at afraenkel@ashoka.org.