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“Why are you in school?”

President Michael Roth spoke this weekend at the Social Good Summit, a two-day conference for leaders and activists to discuss the challenges facing our world and the role of technology in addressing them. In a talk titled “The Future of Education,” Roth asserts that those who seek to protect the status quo feel threatened by education - particularly of girls and the poor – because it is through education that we change the world. The last decade has seen a rise in anti-intellectualism and resistance or opposition to education, and Roth explains that “people are threatened by new forms of empowerment that come from spreading knowledge, spreading care and engagement, and by spreading skills for change.”

After discussing his MOOC “How to Change the World” - which was influenced by his experiences at the 2013 Social Good Summit, and which had over 100,000 people in its two iterations – Roth compels those who have been fortunate enough to attend school to recall why they got their education. As consuming as grades or money may be in the moment, the success of a college or university is marked not by graduates’ GPAs or starting salaries, but by whether they’ve been empowered to do what they want to do, to achieve the things that matter to them and their communities.

So, how successful has your Wesleyan education been? When you look at yourself and your classmates, do you see “excellent sheep” or people gearing up to change the world? Are you reading and writing a maintenance guide for the status quo, or learning what truly sets your heart aflame? For inspiration and perspective, check out talks by President Roth and many other speakers from the Social Good Summit.

COMPASS for Kids is a non-profit based in Lexington, MA that seeks to improve the lives of vulnerable children by providing education, training, coaching, mentoring and support to the adults and institutions that care for them. Executive Director Jodi Hill ’78 is a former Wesleyan trustee with extensive experience in nonprofit management. COMPASS for Kids is looking for a responsible Wesleyan student to work remotely from campus as a Grant Writing Assistant. This Cardinal Internship is an excellent opportunity to learn about the grant application process while supporting a great organization. The position requires 10-15 hours of work per week and pays $12 per hour.

Responsibilities:
• Organize sections of existing grant proposals into chunks of easy-to-access information 
• Work with the Executive Director to increase the number of grant applications submitted 
• Research new grant opportunities 
• In some cases, work with COMPASS staff to choose which grant opportunities to pursue 
• Develop first drafts of grant proposals 
• Review comments on first draft and produce second draft 
• Produce and submit final proposal drafts

Qualifications:
• Excellent critical reading abilities 
• EXCELLENT technical writing skills (e.g. research papers) 
• Excellent information research abilities 
• Commitment to following exact directions 
• Ability to meet strict time deadlines 
• Flexibility and a sense of humor

To apply:
• Email your cover letter, resume, and brief writing sample (1-2 pages from your best paper, as PDF or Word doc) to jobs@compassforkids.org. Address your cover letter to Ms. Jodi Hill.
• Submit your cover letter, resume, and writing sample again through Career Drive.

Chelsea Tweneboah ’15 has asked us to share this information with fellow Wesleyan students:

My name is Chelsea Tweneboah and I want to introduce an awesome and inspiring service trip with an organization that I am apart of, started by my high school teacher. The organization is called Ubuntu Global Connections, which is nonprofit and uses service to promote change In South Africa. This January we are planning on heading back to South Africa ad wanted to extend the invitation to the Wesleyan community.

There is lots of flexibility about the dates, itinerary and activities so just about any aspect of this could be changed if you or your interested students wanted to focus more or less in one area or another.

I am attaching a sample itinerary – this one was the trip our organization led with with students from Connecticut College in March 2013.    This trip was partly in Cape Town (where we worked with the children at Linawo children’s home, did some educational and cultural immersion activities and some outdoorsy things) and in a rural community in the Eastern Cape (where we worked with an educational non-profit, stayed in huts with families, hiked along the beautiful coast).

The weather in South Africa in January is very warm so beaches and outdoor activities would be a fun way to spend some of our free time.

Here are a short list of the most common activities we have included on various trips, depending on participants’ interests and budget.

  • Service work (taking children on outings, setting up a garden, painting a house, helping high school classrooms, building an outdoor latrine, organizing a new library, helping students to do computer activities)
  • Outdoor activities (hiking, kayaking, biking, seeing animals)
  • Educational and cultural immersion activities (Robben Island and other museums related to Nelson Mandela or apartheid, cooking or language lessons, observing a church service, doing a homestay or having dinners with families from various backgrounds)

The total cost for a 12-day trip (plus two days of travel) would likely be around $3400-$4200, however some calculating needs to be done to get more accurate numbers.   This includes airfare and everything on the trip, except snacks, laundry and souvenirs.  Meals, lodging, ground transportation, guide and programs are all included.  In addition, this includes a $100 donation to the organizations where we serve and the group would decide how to allocate this money at the end of the trip.   Optional activities, not on the itinerary (which will be pretty packed), would cost extra.

Again, everything on the trip is negotiable.  We could do a shorter and less expensive trip and stay just in Cape Town or in the Eastern Cape and discuss other ideas or suggestions that you may have.

I hope this gives you a sense of how it might work.  I am imagining a 12-day trip within the dates ofJanuary 2-20, but even that is flexible. There may be students form Wellesley and MIT joining the possible Wesleyan group on trip.

Attached is further information about the trip. Please let me know if you have any questions: camotweneboa@wesleyan.edu
Sample Itinerary

For information on other experiential learning opportunities during winter, spring, or summer break, visit the “Get Experience” section of the PCSE Resource Center.

The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awards annual seed grants to fund the launch or early stage growth of a Wesleyan-connected social enterprise, project, program, or venture. Each grant recipient reports back with blog posts and photos. Here’s the second report from Boundless Updated Knowledge Offline (BUKO), one of the three 2014 winners, written by founder Joaquin Benares ’15. You can read his first report here, and learn more about Joaquin and BUKO in Wesleyan News.

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The PCSE SEED grant afforded me the wonderful opportunity to work on my social-entrepreneurship startup Boundless Updated Knowledge Offline (BUKO) throughout my last summer as a student of Wesleyan University.

I am happy to report that we were able to accomplish all the tasks we outlined.

BUKO v2 homepage design

BUKO v2 homepage design

The summer closed with BUKO deployments to 10 public high schools, and 1 public elementary school.  Our partnerships with Teach for the Philippines and the University of the Philippines by way of Ms. Mona Sasing are doing well. We’ve laid the groundwork for the continued collection of feedback from both parties to ensure that we move forward with information in hand and can improve the server based on this feedback. We have successfully developed a new version of our server, both front-end and back-end, and are currently seeking patents for both.  We’ve completely re-designed our home-screen layout from scratch, which now features an improved interface and a more attractive layout; this is easily the most distinctive new feature.  This re-design comes as a direct response to feedback data collected from students in our earlier deployments. We made the decision to add several necessary embellishments to the deployment package to ensure its durability and efficiency, namely: a waterproof/shockproof case and a fully capable home router to expand the server’s range. As expected, we were confronted with multiple setbacks and hurdles.

wireframes from homepage

BUKO wireframes from homepage

The setbacks we experienced were difficult and far-ranging in complexity, but what resulted was a summer of intense growth, not just for our company, but for myself as a student and aspiring social-entrepreneur. Two hurdles in particular have come to define my work this summer, and I’ve outlined them below.

BUKO Tablets ordered from China

BUKO Tablets ordered from China

We were forced to incorporate under the laws of the Philippine government as the result of our decision to import 60 tablets from China.  I had placed an order on Alibaba.com for a sample of 60 tablets, and specially requested that they refrain from using FedEx (the cheapest carrier) as FedEx required more paperwork than other delivery services.  The supplier agreed, and even had me pay the extra cost associated with switching carriers. This obviously meant little to him because he chose to ship via FedEx anyway, dropping me in the middle of a bureaucratic nightmare – all to save $50 (the difference in carriers).  The tablets were held at customs for a month causing a standstill in our immediate operations. In our search for a solution, I learned that Philippine laws concerning package claim are more forgiving of corporations as compared to individuals.  We decided incorporation would be the easiest solution, and the tablets were in our hands within a week’s time. It remains safe to say that we would not have pursued incorporation unless very “serendipitous” circumstances forced us to do so.

Our first deployment of the summer fell flat on its face.  Luckily, we had decided that the first deployment, the beta-deployment, would take place 3 weeks before the rest. This was done to give us a cushion to learn from the inevitable mistakes made during the beta-deployment.

The beta-deployment was painful.  For the first two hours the server would not start. With the eyes of every department head and the principal watching me, I fiddled with the server, becoming younger and less credible with each passing second.  After apologising to the teachers for wasting their time, I realised that the server was acting up because the outlet that I had been using was loose, resulting in inconsistent current. Without a consistent power supply, the server found itself perpetually restarting, resulting in the illusion that it wasn’t working. With a word of advise to the teachers and a cheap voltage regulator, we ensured that the problem would never repeat itself. All of our subsequent deployments were problem free.

Laguna high school picture taken during recess (beta-deploy)

Laguna high school picture taken during recess (beta-deploy)

With the choice to seek SEED funding and dedicate my summer to BUKO, came the opportunity cost of the stable internship in New York or Boston, as many of my friends had done.  The setbacks we experienced were unlike anything I’ve ever had to prepare for, let alone solve, but were as refreshing in their complications as they were taxing. In my limited experience, I’ve come to realise that true professional fulfillment is a byproduct of emotional investment in your work.   I remain extremely thankful for the opportunity to have worked on BUKO this summer, and would like to continue to do so.

The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awards annual seed grants to fund the launch or early stage growth of a Wesleyan-connected social enterprise, project, program, or venture. Each grant recipient reports back with blog posts and photos. Here’s the second report from JooMah, one of the three 2014 winners. You can visit the JooMah website here and read Kwaku’s first seed grant report here.

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joomah logoIt’s been a while since my last blog entry for the PCSE. As of the last time I wrote to you, we were still working on building the technology for the JooMah platform and preparing to roll it out. This time I write to you from Accra, the capital of Ghana where we are seeing some early drizzles of success and are excited to push harder to get even better results.

Ghana is one of a few middle-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and is currently riding high on a wave of tech entrepreneurship and broadening accessibility to the Internet. Everyday, more and more products and platforms are churned to meet the growing demand for tech tools for play and for work.

One interesting common ground a lot of young Ghanaian tech entrepreneurs hold is a passion to bring what they are doing to the larger African market as soon as is possible. Out here, the conversations about building technological solutions quickly go from discussing the specifics of the Ghanaian market to framing an ambitious pan-Africanist narrative surrounding the potential for change a product can bring. And then occasionally you come across that entrepreneur who has already pushed his products into markets other than Nigeria and South Africa, and you just have to stop and doff your hat in appreciation for their hard work and ambition.

Among the larger Ghanaian population, there is growing interest in software development as a tool to tackle some of the tough problems in our societies. For instance, the little data we have gathered on JooMah so far shows that jobs in software development ranks fourth on the list of industries jobseekers are most interested in, ahead of more traditional industries such as broadcast media, real estate development and consumer services.

As we push JooMah further into the Ghanaian market, I am excited for the challenges and the surprises we will encounter. More importantly, I am excited for the growth our teams here in Ghana and back at Wes and in New York have already started to experience and will continue to experience! As always a big shout out to the team – Max Dietz ’16, Oladoyin Oladapo ’14, Sam Giagtzoglou ’16, Olayinka Lawal ’15, Justin Raymond ’14, Assoh Akoi, Nehemiah Samwini and Prince Tetteh – for making it all possible.

The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awards annual seed grants to fund the launch or early stage growth of a Wesleyan-connected social enterprise, project, program, or venture. Each grant recipient reports back with blog posts and photos. Here’s the second report from Wishing Well, one of the three 2014 winners. You can read about Wishing Well here and read their first seed grant report here.

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wishing well logoWishing Well progress is quickly accelerating. After over 9 months of international separation, Tavo and I are not only within the same time zone but within walking distance. We’re back at Wes and eager to break soil.

Before we begin churning out Wishing Wells to every University across North America, we’re laying the necessary ideological foundation. We believe that this initial investment in defining the underlying structure will allow Wishing Well to develop most effectively, prevent future growing pains, and clarify our collective vision. We’re happy to announce our foundation:

Our premises:

  1. Solutions to correcting the environment’s deteriorating health must enter the marketplace as fast as possible.
  2. Our social commitment overrides our profit-drive; our financial aim is to be self-sustaining so we can continue to make an impact.

Our goal: In an effort to combat plastic waste, we aim to spread Wishing Well to a wide market as effectively as possible while maintaining the enthusiastic, student based ethos with which we began.

The designers and builders of the first Wishing Well prototypes (from left): Nina Gerona '15, Jen Kleindienst (Sustainability Coordinator), Bruce Strickland (Machine Shop), Tavo True-Alcala '15, Dave Strickland (Machine Shop), Brent Packer '15, and Madeleine O'Brien '16

The designers and builders of the first Wishing Well prototypes (from left): Nina Gerona ’15, Jen Kleindienst (Sustainability Coordinator), Bruce Strickland (Machine Shop), Tavo True-Alcala ’15, Dave Strickland (Machine Shop), Brent Packer ’15, and Madeleine O’Brien ’16

Sure, having organizational premises and a goal is nice, but we needed something more. We dug the foundation, now we pour the concrete. Introducing our 2-part business model. In the spirit of Wesleyan, it’s a bit nontraditional:

  1. Open source knowledge. Spreading the benefits of the Wishing Well system is our primary goal, and to that end, we intend to open source our designs. These plans will be free to download from our website. If an organization has the facilities and time, they will have everything necessary to build their own Wishing Well. However, these plans can only be used for personal use; no organization is permitted to use our designs for commercial gain. A licensing system will help insure that our openness is not abused.
  2. Low-cost prefabricated Wishing Wells. It’s likely that many Universities and other organizations will be unable to build our structures on their own. Or maybe they have the capacity but think it would be easier to purchase a prefabricated one. We plan to offer low-cost prefabricated Wells. Each will be priced to allow our own financial self-sufficiency and nothing more.

We have also placed a great deal of thought into our human structure and culture. We’d like to retain the youthful energy, innovation, and idealism upon which Wishing Well was founded. To accomplish this, we plan to gather a team of amazing college students and recent graduates. We also recognize that a naiveness often accompanies such organizations. However, we plan to combat this by establishing an advisory board of senior industry experts. They will offer guidance when necessary and challenge our decisions whenever possible. We envision this creative conflict to be another piece of Wishing Well’s flourishing future.

Stay tuned for more updates. If you’re looking to join the Wishing Well team, be on the lookout for more information in the coming months. Or if you’re just looking to chat about Wishing Well, don’t hesitate to contact Tavo or me. We’re always free to grab a coffee or phone call :)

 

 

 

 

Please join staff and students from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship and Wesleyan Alumni in Philanthropy and Public Service (WAPPS) this Friday, during Family Weekend, for two events:

Latin American Studies major Wesley Close ’15 spent summer 2013 working for Human Rights Advocacy Centre in Accra, Ghana.

Latin American Studies major Wesley Close ’15 spent summer 2013 working for Human Rights Advocacy Centre in Accra, Ghana.

2-3 p.m.
Allbritton 311
WESEMINAR Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Internship Grants: Student Stories and Reflections
As part of Wesleyan’s Summer Experience Grant program, the Patricelli Center offers stipends to students who will take unpaid or low-paid internships to do socially-responsible work around the globe. Recipients have traveled to India, Ghana, Jordan, Nepal, Wisconsin, California, New York City, and beyond. They have worked in human rights, environmental sustainability, food justice, international development, mental health care, and other fields. Each has benefitted from the experiential learning that complements their academic studies, providing opportunities to put theory into practice – without a financial burden.
Moderator: Makaela Kingsley ’98, Director of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship
Panelists: Wesley Close ’14, Jackie Freed ’15, Jessica Gorak ’15, Geneva Jonathan ’15, and Keren Reichler ’16
Co-sponsored by Wesleyan Alumni in Philanthropy and Public Service (WAPPS)

3:30-4:30 p.m.
Allbritton 022
Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship (PCSE) Open House
The Patricelli Center supports students and alumni interested in creating and sustaining programs, businesses, and organizations that advance the public good. Visit the PCSE to meet staff and students, learn about our grants and workshops, and see our incubator workspace in the Allbritton Center.

reSET awards dinner 2014reSET Invites You to the 2014 Social Enterprise Awards
Superheroes of Social Enterprise
October 28, 2014, 5:30 – 8:30 pm
The Society Room, 31 Pratt Street, Hartford, CT

Social Entrepreneurs… understand that change is driven by those who are affected most. They work to defeat injustice, save the environment, and right inequality. Through their work, these entrepreneurs develop businesses that improve our world.

On October 28th, you will hear the stories of entrepreneurs who have accepted the challenge of using business as a force for good, and learn what fuels their desire to create solutions to some of our most pressing problems. Join us for the 2014 Social Enterprise Awards, and meet Connecticut’s Superheroes of social enterprise.

If you are interested in attending, please contact the Patricelli Center.

 

Attention undergraduate students — We know you just finished getting settled in for fall semester, and although you have plenty of time before you have to start thinking about summer, we wanted to get a few Wesleyan funding opportunities on your radar.

Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship (PCSE) Seed Grant Challenge
The PCSE offers three $5,000 grants to fund the launch or early stage growth of a Wesleyan-connected social enterprise, project, program, or venture. This grant is awarded in a two-stage competition format, and winners are selected from a pool of finalists who submit written business/organizational plans and participate in a public pitch session with a panel of expert judges. Applicants are assessed on project design, leadership qualities, and potential for social impact. The deadline for summer 2015 project applications will be in January 2015. Read more on the PCSE website, and stay tuned for announcements about information sessions later this fall.

Davis Projects for Peace
Wesleyan is pleased to be a participating member of Projects for Peace, a program that honors Kathryn Wasserman Davis, a noted philanthropist who was interested in finding new ways to advance world peace. The top submissions from the participating campuses, including at least one from Wesleyan, will receive $10,000 in funding to initiate projects anywhere in the world during a single summer (June-August). The deadline for summer 2015 project applications will be in January 2015. Read about past Davis winners, email the Patricelli Center with questions, and stay tuned for announcements about information sessions later this fall.

Wesleyan Summer Experience Grants
Rising juniors and seniors receiving need-based financial aid are eligible to apply for WSEG’s of up to $4000 for all types of summer experiences. Several of these grants are earmarked for students doing civic engagement or social impact work, including four internship grants from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship. Career Center staff are available to help identify resources for finding meaningful summer experiences. Learn more on the Career Center’s website, and stay tuned for announcements about information sessions.

To learn about other funding sources — for summer or otherwise — visit the PCSE Resource Center’s “Get Funded” section, brainstorm with the PCSE Peer Advisors, or visit the Patricelli Center today.

Register by today to learn the ins and outs of sound production at the Green Street Arts Center! From Director Sara MacSorley:

Green Street Sound Production Class “Shaping Sounds”

Instructor: John Bergeron

Location: Green Street Arts Center, 51 Green Street, Middletown CT

Thursdays from 1:30-4:30pm for 10 weeks

Start date: September 25, 2014

Class fee: $550 per student

Registration deadline: September 22, 2014

Class size: 4-6 students, 4 minimum enrollment

Class Description: Learn how to record a song from start to finish at the Green Street Arts Center Sound Studio. Our professional sound engineer, John Bergeron has recorded many albums of his own and has worked as a session player for keyboards, an arranger of strings and horns, a producer, and a recording engineer over the years. He’s recorded in Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, London, and more.

This 10 week class will teach you the techniques of sound production using ProTools software and plug ins. You’ll also learn nuanced parts of the of the process like how to get the best work out of musicians in the studio.

The class will start with learning the tools and etiquette of the studio. Once students are acclimated to the equipment, John will demo the process of recording a song step by step. Students in the class will identify singer songwriters or guitarists at Wesleyan to serve as guest artists for the class. Guest artists will receive a free recording session and a copy of the final song.

Once the demo is complete, the class becomes very hands on. Each student gets to go through the process of recording a guest artist with guidance from John. You’ll get to pick the artist, set up the studio, record, edit, mix, and master the song.

If interested, call today! 860-685-7871 or gsac@wesleyan.edu. Open to all majors.

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