Wilfrid Laurier University Changemaker Campus

Laurier students aren’t content with simply earning a university degree. To them, education is a springboard to something greater: it’s the key to shaping a life, building a community and making a difference. For more than a century, Laurier has been known for academic excellence. But we’ve also been dedicated to the philosophy that our students’ success is measured through more than grades – it’s based on the quality of the lives they lead, and those they inspire.

Putting knowledge to work in the world is a hallmark of the Laurier experience. Integrated and engaged learning opportunities such as co-op work terms and community service are designed to help students relate what they learn in the classroom to what they experience outside of it, then coming full circle by bringing their real-world experiences back to the classroom. Our innovative programs in arts and social sciences, business and economics, music, science, social work and education cover a broad spectrum. At their heart, though, they reflect a common purpose: Laurier’s determination to address global social, health and environmental problems and advance creative pursuits.

Laurier’s two campuses are in Waterloo and Brantford, but we also have a Faculty of Social Work in nearby Kitchener and a weekend MBA program in Toronto. In all, we have 19,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Kitchener-Waterloo, with a population of about 350,000, is small enough to be safe and easy to navigate but large enough to offer great art, music, restaurants and other big-city amenities. Our campus in Brantford is fully embedded in the student-friendly downtown core and a stone’s throw from the Grand River and many outdoor activities. Both campuses are only about an hour from Toronto, Canada’s biggest city.

Social Entrepreneurship Option

Our Social Entrepreneurship option is designed for students looking to tackle the issues facing society today with sustainable business solutions. As the first of its kind in Canada, this option focuses on providing you with a deeper appreciation of the world’s urgent problems, an understanding of your individual strengths and motivations for impacting change, and entrepreneurial expertise such as financial management, strategic planning, market analysis and fundraising.

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Entrepreneurship Core

No matter what your area of focus is at Laurier, you can combine it with broader studies in the world of entrepreneurship by taking three foundational courses, the Entrepreneurship Core,  that develop entrepreneurial skills that can be applied to any program stream or discipline.

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LaunchPad Start and Scale programs

Laurier’s own startup incubator, LaunchPad,, is available to senior students, alumni and community members at the Waterloo and Brantford campuses). Once you've tested your startup idea in our innovative curriculum, you can apply to participate in LaunchPad, located in the Communitech Hub in Waterloo and in the Market Darling Centre (MDC) on the Brantford Campus, to make your idea happen.

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Joanne Benham Rennick Executive Director, Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation

The Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation brings together Laurier's entrepreneurial and social innovation activities in a multi-campus environment. I am Associate Professor in the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics (Policy) and the Faculty of Arts (Global Studies) as well as an Ashoka Change Leader. Prior to returning to academia, I spent more than a decade as a program director in the public and voluntary sectors, as an information technology specialist in the private sector, and as an independent business owner. I have extensive international experience building partnerships with social enterprises in South America, Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean.

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Jessica Vorsteveld Associate Director, Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation

As the Associate Director of the Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation, I work with students, staff, faculty and the community to promote social innovation and social entrepreneurship as a response to complex social issues.   I have experience developing and facilitating co-curricular and curricular opportunities in community service-learning; student life and engagement; academic success; and career and professional development at the post-secondary level. Beyond this, I have worked and volunteered locally and internationally on a variety of initiatives that educate, engage, and empower youth. I hold a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Arts. My research examines social innovation programs in post-secondary institutions across Canada.

Dr. Steve Sider Associate Professor, Faculty of Education

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Dr. Lee Willingham Associate Professor; Director, Laurier Centre for Music in the Community

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Dr. Bree Akesson Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Work

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Dr. Robert Feagan Associate Professor, Society, Culture and Environment

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Dr. Gavin Brockett Associate Professor, History and Religion and Culture

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Dr. Manuel Riemer Associate Professor, Psychology

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Dr. Barry Colbert Associate Professor; Director, P&G Centre for Business and Sustainability

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Sheldon Pereira Director, University Relations

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Ben Yang Director, Global Engagement

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Kandice Baptiste Manager, Aboriginal Initiatives

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Dave Shorey Associate Director, Residence Education

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Laura Mae Lindo Director, Diversity and Equity Office

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Claire Bennett Manager, Sustainability Office

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Tom Ebeyer Coordinator, LaunchPad, Waterloo Campus

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Nick Dinka Director, Communication & Cultural Programming

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Lori McMaster Supervisor, Career Development Centre

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Adrian Beam Coordinator, LaunchPad Program, Brantford Campus

Melissa Ireland Aboriginal Student Support Coordinator (Waterloo Campus)

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Brittany MacAulay Undergraduate Student

Abbas Jeraj Undergraduate Student

Brandon Hey Graduate Student

William Sutter Undergraduate Student

Tolulope (Helen) Ojo Graduate Student

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.