Middlebury College Changemaker Campus

At Middlebury College we challenge students to participate fully in a vibrant and diverse academic community. The College’s Vermont location offers an inspirational setting for learning and reflection, reinforcing our commitment to integrating environmental stewardship into both our curriculum and our practices on campus. Yet the College also reaches far beyond the Green Mountains, offering a rich array of undergraduate and graduate programs that connect our community to other places, countries, and cultures. We strive to engage students’ capacity for rigorous analysis and independent thought within a wide range of disciplines and endeavors, and to cultivate the intellectual, creative, physical, ethical, and social qualities essential for leadership in a rapidly changing global community. Through the pursuit of knowledge unconstrained by national or disciplinary boundaries, students who come to Middlebury learn to engage the world.

Through funding, classes, workshops, and mentoring, as well as dedicated workspaces for ideation and collaboration, the Center for Creativity, Innovation, and Social Entrepreneurship (CCISE) guides students who want to explore and expand their creative ideas. The Center – or Innovation Hub, as it is called on campus – started in 2007 as the Project on Creativity and Innovation in the Liberal Arts (PCI), expanding on to include a myriad of programs that support students as they exercise their creativity, pursue innovation, and become more comfortable with intellectual risk-taking during their four years at Middlebury.

MiddCORE

MiddCORE is a mentor-powered innovation experience for undergrads endeavoring to launch their education and their passions into the world at large. By challenging students to build their personal strengths and apply design based problems solving in a professional environment; the program builds core skills of Innovation, Leadership, and Collaboration. MiddCORE hosts two immersion experiences yearly: A four-week J-Term course on the Middlebury Campus serves 36 Middlebury undergraduates, and a four-week summer program, held since 2013 at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village, Nevada, serves 50 undergraduates and recent graduates from Middlebury and other colleges. Dozens of volunteer mentors who are leaders in business, academia, and government volunteer their time and talent to work closely with MiddCORE students during both immersion programs, and some return year after year because they find the experience to be so rewarding. MiddCORE’s impact also extends beyond the college and into the community, inviting profit and non-profit organizations to issue strategic challenges to our students. The action plans developed by the students are often implemented by these partners.

Learn more

Fellowship in Social Entrepreneurship

The Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship supports students committed to innovation and social change. At the beginning of each fall semester, the SE staff chooses six Fellows from a pool of sophomore and sophomore/junior Feb applicants. The accepted fellows form a diverse cohort with a range of both academic and personal backgrounds; they share common interests in entrepreneurship, social change, and social justice. Structured around the pillars of Active Engagement, Community Spirit, and Reflection, the fellowship aims to cultivate humility, self-awareness, moral imagination, and an understanding of the complexities of trying to effect social change. Each fellow receives $7000 in grant money and personalized mentoring from the SE staff until their graduation from Middlebury. Fellows also have access to skill building and reflective workshops; receive collaborative projects and mentorship from partners in the Vermont social impact ecosystem; participate in MidCORE, Middlebury’s leadership and innovation course; and act as ambassadors for changemaking and innovation on campus.

Learn more

MiddChallenge

MiddChallenge is an annual pitch competition in which students apply to receive funding for a project or business idea that they will develop over the summer. There are four competition categories: Social Entrepreneurship; Arts; Business; and Education, Outreach, and Policy. There are typically two winners per category, each winner receiving $3,000 in funding. We invite an external panel of judges, usually made up of alums, faculty and local entrepreneurs, to listen to the pitches and select the winners in each category. The judges ultimately decide the projects that receive funding in each category, and will sometimes choose to divvy up the grants into “mini grants” so that more projects receive funding.

Learn more

Elizabeth Robinson Associate Dean of the College for Creativity, Engagement & Careers

In this capacity Elizabeth oversees the Center for Careers and Internships, the Center for Community Engagement and the Center for Creativity, Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (the Innovation Hub). She also works across the Institution on issues related to social impact and encourages and supports students in their engaged learning endeavors at Middlebury. In her time at Middlebury, she has served as the Director of Alumni and Parent program, has contributed to the early development of our innovation and leadership program, MiddCORE, founded the Programs on Creativity and Innovation in 2007, and she and Jon Isham founded and co-directed the Center for Social Entrepreneurship from 2011 to 2014. An 8th generation Vermonter, Elizabeth graduated from Middlebury in 1984. She worked in D.C. politics serving on the Subcommittee on Education, Arts and the Humanities, community banking at the Bank of Boston, and in the nonprofit world directing the Convention and Visitors Bureau at the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce in Burlington, VT. She also holds a master’s degree in government administration from the University of Pennsylvania.

Heather Neuwirth Director of Programs of the College for Creativity, Engagement & Careers

After graduating from Middlebury College in 2008 with a degree in English and American Literatures and Italian, Heather lived as an interpreter and worker on WWOOF vineyards and farms in Italy and spent two years teaching middle school in Milwaukee. After realizing that her passion came from supporting opportunities and education for youth outside of the classroom, she served as the Director of the 2011 World Youth Peace Summit through the Institute for International Sport. In 2011, she returned to Middlebury as the Associate Director of the Center for Social Entrepreneurship (CSE) and the Programs on Creativity and Innovation (PCI). She has a Master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of Vermont. As Director of Programs at the CCISE, Heather oversees operations for weekly Friday Speaker Series events and the annual June Forum for Faculty and Staff at Bread Loaf.

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.