Tommy Tobin

Tommy is a recent graduate of Stanford University, where he earned the Deans’ Award for Academic Accomplishment and led the Stanford Project on Hunger to provide 100,000 meals for his community.

Exchanging Ideas: Stories of Impact Series

As a community, we came to the Ashoka U Exchange with a challenge: to construct an environment that catalyzes changemaking on college and university campuses. To achieve our goal, the social sector interests of participants would need to be aligned with pathways to pursue innovation at educational institutions around the world.

Defining Success

The Exchange and the preceding TEDxAshokaU positioned colleges and universities as drivers of social change. Delivering content for a broad set of stakeholders, the Ashoka U Exchange needed to be both valuable and empowering. Time will bear out the connections, the ideas, and the promise of this weekend in February. Yet, we already have a story to tell.


Over 80% of participants found that the TEDxAshokaU event delivered information and ideas of value. Similarly, over 70% found valuable networking opportunities in the iContact Lounge. The Saturday Evening Reception with Susan Davis and Ashoka Fellow Greg Van Kirk was also well received.

Yet, the bulk of the Exchange was the 25 workshops. As shown below, an overwhelming 90% found these educational opportunities worthwhile.


Facilitating quality content and connections was only one part of the Exchange, we hoped that the Exchange would empower us collectively to be more effective agents of change at our home institutions and a wide array of organizations.

The Exchange nurtured the free flow of ideas and information, with 88% of participants meeting someone from a different campus that they want to connect with further. Over 60% saw a model program that they would like to replicate at their institution. Indeed, over 60% also now feel prepared to discuss social entrepreneurship education with others at their institution.

Further, fully 79% agree that the Exchange has empowered them to become a more effective advocate for social entrepreneurship education.

Blossoming Collaboration

Moving forward, we look to expand upon the Exchange’s many successes. In the months ahead, we want to further encourage cross-campus collaborations, practitioner-student learning endeavors, and faculty engagement with social entrepreneurship education.