Emily Lamb

Emily manages the Changemaker Campus network, a collective of post-secondary institutions dedicated to making changemaking a norm in higher education.

4 Reasons To Present at the 2019 Exchange

Over the years, we’ve found that a Changemaker Institution comes in many shapes and sizes. It can be a 300-student college on a remote island or a community college with 100,000-students spread across eight campuses in a metropolitan city. Size, location, and even budget doesn’t define a Changemaker Institution.

Rather, we often see that changemaking and social innovation is sparked at the intersection of differing schools of thought, disciplines, sectors, and siloes. Inspired by this realization, this year our annual conference, the Ashoka U Exchange, has the theme “Beyond Boundaries and Borders: Expanding Possibilities for the Future of Higher Education.”

At our ninth Exchange, co-hosted by University of California San Diego on February 21-23, 2019 in San Diego, 700 people from hundreds of institutions around the globe will come together to share practices that unlock students as changemakers.

We also believe it’s incredibly important for the program to reflect our community’s rich diversity of experiences, perspectives, and new ways of being on college campuses, which is why nearly 75% of the content is sourced from the community. We challenge you to take a look at last year’s agenda and let us know who is missing? What conversations are lacking? Can you bring that missing piece to the program?

If you’re still on the fence about applying to present (or inviting your colleagues to present) at the Exchange this year, here are a few reasons to take the leap.  The deadline to submit your application is September 26.


1. Our Field Needs Fresh New Voices

We know social innovation education is at an inflection point. When we began ten years ago, only a handful of institutions had courses labeled as “social entrepreneurship”. Now it’s rare to see major institutions without a “social entrepreneurship” course. But, the vision isn’t just social entrepreneurship. It’s an entirely new way of embedding the principles of social change across an entire institution. And this can’t be done by staying in our siloes or by talking to the same people. It must be done across boundaries. That’s why we need your help to invite new perspectives – such as students, community partners or even that partner from service learning, to not only join the conversation but to help us co-lead it.


2. Shape Social Change Education Across the Globe

Through the years, the Ashoka U Exchange has become a consistent, interdisciplinary, global gathering for leaders in higher education. Whether you are starting your career or have spent years transforming classrooms, centers, departments, and even entire institutions into hubs for sustainable social change, this is the right community for you. Courses, institutional collaborations, and new majors have been sparked at the Exchange. Can your program be the spark for others in this field?


3. Find Dreamers, Collaborators, and Thought Partners

Last year at the Exchange in Boston, I was walking past a group of speakers huddling together and one of them excitedly flagged me down to pitch a session idea she cooked up for the next Exchange. We often hear from Exchange speakers that the benefit of presenting isn’t just in sharing thought leadership or program models to an international audience. The benefit has been in building relationships with fellow speakers and participants who then become close colleagues, allies, and thought partners across institutional lines. The Exchange is just as much a learning experience as an opportunity to share.


4. Want to teach about social change? Here you can meet the “movers and shakers” themselves

Educators, students, and higher education administrators are not the only people to attend the Exchange. Each year, a number of social entrepreneurs, including Ashoka Fellows, join the conference. Whether it’s Eric Glustrom of “Watson Institute” or Casey Woods of “Arms With Ethics”, some of the most inspired minds in social change participate. Ashoka U draws a crowd that’s eager to unlock the ways in which we, as a society, can make sure solutions outrun problems. We want you to be here with us.


This February we’re excited to keep learning with you, push boundaries alongside you, and become re-inspired by the potential for higher education to drive lasting change because of you.

If you’ve already made up your mind to apply, we recommend checking out these tips, including questions we’ll be using to select submissions, inspired by questions we’ve received from previous applicants.

The presentation application deadline is September 26 at 6:00pm PT. You can apply here. And if you have questions please reach out to Exchange Associate Director Emily Lamb, elamb@ashoka.org.