Dristy Shrestha '11.5 shares the story of her hydroelectric project in Nepal during the symposium's opening event.

Lasting Connections

From January 25-27, we celebrated the Inaugural Symposium of the Middlebury Center for Social Entrepreneurship (MCSE) with keynote addresses by Bill Drayton, founder and CEO of Ashoka, and Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of Acumen Fund and an educator's workshop led by Gordon Bloom, founder of Social Entrepreneurship labs at Stanford, Harvard and Princeton. The success of the launch can certainly be measured by the grand outcomes: unforgettable talks by three luminaries in the field; workshops on cutting-edge topics led by 12 leading scholars and practitioners; hundreds of eager students taking it all in.

But as the MCSE staff has reflected on the three days of celebration, we have reveled in less visible outcomes, outcomes that in their own way confirm an even richer kind of success.

  • Countless new and promising connections: for example, the introduction of Dane Verret '12 and Laurie Lane-Zucker '88, who share an interest in story-telling and social change.
  • Social entrepreneurs telling their life stories, sharing how they discovered meaning in their lives: for example, Vermont's own Hal Coulston talking about the calling that led him to found the Good News Garage.
  • The sharing of so many "big ideas," dreams that members of the Middlebury community are turning into reality right now in hopes of creating a more just and equitable world: for example, the presentation in front of Bill Drayton and 120 other participants of GivingSomeThing.com, a new online platform enabling nonprofit supporters to easily donate real goods to nonprofits founded by Dave Campbell '09 and Mike Stone '09.

For three days, long-standing and newly welcomed members of the Middlebury community made connections like these. In these moments, we found hope.

—Jon Isham, Faculty Director of the MCSE

Explore the 2012 Symposium

Transforming Lives

The symposium included speeches and workshops by leaders in the field, including Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of Acumen Fund. Read more about Novogratz's talk and other 2012 Symposium events or watch a video of her speaking.

Solving the World's Problems

Ashoka founder Bill Drayton spoke about social entrepreneurs as people who “give themselves permission to solve problems,” and who will be increasingly important in a world where the pace of change is accelerating exponentially, making many of our institutions dysfunctional. Watch the video of Drayton's talk and the conversation with Professor Jon Isham and Student Social Entrepreneurs Dristy Shrestha ’11.5 and Kennedy Mutothori Mugo ’12.5.

Programs on Creativity and Innovation in the Liberal Arts

Heather Neuwirth '08
118 South Main Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753
802.443.5961 - work

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