Brigham Young University Changemaker Campus

Brigham Young University seeks to develop students of faith, intellect, and character who have the skills and the desire to continue learning and to serve others throughout their lives.

Established in 1875, the university provides an outstanding education in an atmosphere consistent with the ideals and principles of its sponsor, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. BYU is known for its beautiful mountain location, its internationally experienced student body, its extensive language programs, and for its entrepreneurially minded students.

In 2003, the Melvin J. Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance was created to provide a catalyst for enhancing existing and new academic efforts in social innovation throughout campus. The Ballard Center focuses on helping students apply their skillsets to the field of social innovation.

Students for Social Entrepreneurship (SSE)

Students for Social Entrepreneurship (SSE) is BYU’s award-winning on-campus SE internship program. A credit bearing course, it is student-led, maintaining an exciting innovative club-like environment. The class is administered by the BYU Ballard Center. SSE fosters relationships primarily with Skoll Foundation awardees and Ashoka Fellow organizations like Teach for America, Acumen Fund, Benetech, Kiva, Vittana, Dowser and Ashoka in order to provide students with invaluable SE internship experience. Offered in fall and winter semesters, SSE’s approach helps SE organizations to outsource challenging projects to a team of BYU interns. The students gain hands-on experience in the SE field without having to leaving campus. The SE organizations benefit from fresh student internship energy and labor during usually low internship involvement semesters.

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Social Innovation Leadership Council (SILC)

SILC is the Ballard Center’s primary innovation creation, R&D effort. Part student club and part university program, this student-led effort focuses on new social innovation activities within campus which help increasing numbers of students to become aware of and involved in social innovation. One of their first creations, the Changemaker Maps, has been modified and used by other Ashoka U campuses. These maps help students of various disciplines across campus to find a path to using social innovation throughout their lives. The team is working on new topical maps (ie., hunger, human trafficking, microcredit) to help students navigate resources on campus involved in those efforts.

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Ballard Week

Each year BYU celebrates ‘Ballard Week,’ an opportunity to focus on everything socially innovative. Four activities anchor the week:

  • TEDxBYU   An afternoon of great presentations focused on creativity, innovation, and opportunities to engage in social innovation. Tickets sell out within hours of being sold each year.
  • ISE Case Competition   A live (the organization is still wrestling with the issue) case competition with a social innovator. MBA teams from across the nation compete on helping the SI with a current need.
  • Social Innovator of the Year Award   Our award to the world’s best social innovators. The past three awardees include David Bornstein (Dowser), Willy Foote (Root Capital), and Jim Fruchterman (Benetech).
  • S+Lab   A day of small, intimate, action labs focusing on the world’s toughest social problems.

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Todd Manwaring Associate Teaching Professor & Managing Director, BYU Ballard Center

My introduction to social innovation occurred in 1996. My wife and I had gone to a RESULTS fundraiser where we found ourselves listening to Muhammad Yunus. Yunus’ presentation was nothing short of inspiring. I remember being moved by his message and persona. That introduction became the catalyst for change within our family. We moved to get out of our comfort zone, my wife and I both entered masters programs looking for more change tools, and we became engaged in social causes. My wife focused on local education while I focused on microcredit and social entrepreneurship. Today I am committed to building sustainable curricular and co-curricular social innovation programs on BYU’s campus and helping students with their journey of discovery and ongoing involvement in social innovation.

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Jessamyn Lau Program Leader, Peery Foundation; Advisory Board, BYU Ballard Center

During graduate study at BYU I learned about social innovation. It immediately appealed to me, offering what I had been seeking in a career: a combination of creativity, business thinking, and altruism. I quickly realized I was not a social entrepreneur, and might fit a field-building role. This fit and desire was solidified when I got the chance to work as an intern with Ashoka U. Since 2009 I have worked for the Peery Foundation, which funds social entrepreneurs addressing issues of poverty. The Peery Foundation also established a social entrepreneurship program at BYU to build the next generation of social innovators. It’s a treat to return to campus and work with the Change Team there building programs and curriculum for current and future students.

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Alicia Gettys Communications & Operations Manager, BYU Ballard Center

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Lee Perry Associate Dean, BYU Marriott School

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Gibb Dyer Professor & Academic Director, BYU Ballard Center

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Henry “Hank” Taylor On-Campus Internship Co-Director, BYU Ballard Center

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Justin Oldroyd Students for Social Innovation President, BYU Ballard Center

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Changemaker Campus

Launched in 2008, Ashoka offers the Changemaker Campus designation to leading institutions in social innovation education. These institutions share the vision for higher education to become the next global driver of social change by transforming the educational experience into a world-changing experience.