Beeta Ansari

Beeta is Ashoka U’s Exchange Director, the world’s largest global convening for social entrepreneurship education.

Changemaker of the Week: Kyle Miller

Kyle Miller, a student at the University of San Diego, describes his work founding Lace Up Stand Up, an organization devoted to combatting the problem of bullying through leadership and intervention techniques.

Kyle is being featured as part of Ashoka U’s new series, “Changemaker of the Week” which highlights extraordinary student changemakers in college and graduate programs around the world. Check the Ashoka U Blog each week for a story of a new Changemaker of the Week!

What is Lace Up Stand Up?
Lace Up Stand Up is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that educates youths (6th-8th grade) to recognize, confront, and prevent bullying through leadership and intervention techniques, in order to promote a happy and healthy learning environment.

How did you get involved with Lace Up Stand Up?
As leadership students at the University of San Diego, we were challenged to create a project promoting some type of social change. Bullying was a topic we could all relate to. Each of us had a story as a victim, witness, or bully, and that united us behind a common cause, one that we realized was far more prominent than we had imagined.

How has being a college student changed the way you act as a Changemaker?
Being in college has allowed us to challenge the way we think about the world and think about what we can do to challenge the status quo, and not merely accept things the way they are.

What’s the best part of working on your venture?
When you think about social ventures, you start with the idea of change that you think will most influence and help others. It is what inspires you. However, one of the largest gains throughout this process is what you learn about yourself. I have continued to learn more about myself, what it means to push my limits, and ultimately, re-envisioning my limits as I pursue larger social change.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to any college student thinking of becoming a changemaker?
Don’t be afraid to fail and realize that real change takes time. We’ve had many other student organizations asks us how we did it… and that’s just it – it’s not something you do in a semester and it’s not something that really has an end point. We didn’t do it. We ARE doing it and continually trying out new things. Some work and some don’t but you keep trying! Don’t be afraid to fail.

How has your school or school’s social entrepreneurship initiative helped you progress as a student social innovator and in this venture?
At USD, the Changemaker Hub acts as an incubator and provides a strong network to test ideas and get connected with other students, faculty, alumni, and community members. We have a natural feedback loop and area of influence to grow our ideas which has helped us continue to grow, evolve, and have a larger impact.

More information about Kyle will also be featured on social media this week, so be sure to follow Ashoka U on Twitter and Facebook!