Jessica Lax

Increasing Ashoka U's breadth of impact

Announcing #MillionsofChangemakers

We’re excited to announce the launch of our newest initiative: #MillionsofChangemakers – our global call for commitments from colleges, universities, and higher education innovators to activate and support changemakers.

We officially launched the campaign at the 2019 Ashoka U Exchange in San Diego where four incredible higher education innovators announced their commitment:

Georgian College in Canada is committed to expanding its #Changethenow initiative – which brings together Ashoka Canada, the Simcoe County school board, and Georgian College to work together to create a Region of Changemakers. Their goal is to increase the number of individuals engaged in #changethenow by 50%, engaging 600 elementary and secondary students, and 750 Georgian College students over the next year.


Coding it Forward, an organization for students by students, is committed to launching Build—a virtual, semester-long accelerator for students interested in creating civic tech or social impact products. Their goal is to help over 100 students create and launch products at the intersection of technology and social impact over the next two years.


The Management and Leadership Program at SWPS University in Poland committed to integrate changemaker learning outcomes into 50% of their courses, exposing all 240 management and leadership students to changemaker attributes and skills, and having at least a third of those students actively work on changemaker projects during their studies at SWPS over the next two years.


The Watson Institute, led by an Ashoka Fellow, is committing to graduating 400 young innovators and entrepreneurs over the next five years and embarking on a learning journey to have 30 strategy conversations with advisors and partners over the next year to determine the best path to take changemaker education from a niche offering to something that impacts millions of students in higher education.


These four organizations collectively commit to activating and equipping over 2000 additional changemakers – pushing the envelope on the incredible work they already do.  What if you and your institution made your own commitment?  What if hundreds of other higher education institutions and innovators also stepped up to make commitments?

What collective story would we be able to tell about the role that higher education plays in activating the changemakers the world needs?

What kind of impact could we collectively have if we could know the commitments that everyone was working on?  If we could seek out the people we could help, learn from, and partner with? What if the very act of making your commitment public – of standing up to be counted – brought new partners to your table and a new level of impact for your work?

And what if – on the days when the enormity of the world’s problem weigh down on you – that list of commitments could help you know that hundreds of other campus innovators were stepping out of their institutional corners to do this work alongside you?

How many changemakers could we collectively equip and support then?  Could it be millions?

With thanks to our partner, Schmidt Futures, that’s what we are aiming for by launching #MillionsofChangemakers  – it’s our global call to join these pioneer commitment-makers by making your own commitment.

The commitments listed above are just one small slice of the diversity of the work that we want to recognize and welcome as part of this call to action. Commitments can range from engaging more students in changemaker education initiatives, engaging more faculty or staff to embed changemaking into programs, changing campus culture, or operations, or supporting changemakers in your communities.   Commitments need to be specific, measurable and commit to a new level of impact.  This could be launching a new initiative – or expanding, deepening or integrating what you are already doing.

The commitment process is meant to serve you as a tool – a tool that can help you get more work done.  Use it like a spotlight that you can shine on an idea or initiative that you want to draw more attention to, bring more partners to work on, or take to the next level.

So, what do you want to commit to?

Join us for a virtual design session, download our commitment guide, and submit your commitment at by May 31st.  We’ll release the list of inaugural commitment-makers this June. And next year at this time we will celebrate our collective progress and award those who’ve made a significant contribution at the 2020 Ashoka U Exchange.

#Millionsofchangemakers is your invitation to step up and join us – to tell Ashoka U and this community what you’re working on, and what we can help you with.  It’s your invitation to be a part of a collective story of what higher education institutions are doing to activate the millions of changemakers the world needs.  It’s a story that no one institution can tell alone, but one that we know we can tell together.


Learn more at

With thanks to our pioneer commitment leads Eric Glustrom,  Suzie Addison-Toor, Chris Kuang, and Marcin Jacoby for stepping up.