Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

SE takes on a sustainability project for farmland preservation

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

by Maryanna Biggio

This winter we had the pleasure and privilege of working with three College of Wooster students recruited by the Social Entrepreneurship program. They were mentored by Matt Mariola. Matt is associate professor of environmental science and a board member of Killbuck Watershed Land Trust.

Erin Andrews-Sharer (senior Spanish major), Ruben Aguero (sophomore economics major) and Annette Hilton (sophomore geology major) use social enterprise principals to study the history and management of KWLT. They wrote a business plan which, when adopted, will make our organization much more effective and viable in the area of non-profit conservation groups.

COLLEGE OF WOOSTER students (from left)Erin Andrews-Sharer, Annette Hilton and Ruben Aguero. (Not pictured - Matt Mariola and KWLT President Maryanna Biggio)

COLLEGE OF WOOSTER students (from left)Erin Andrews-Sharer, Annette Hilton and Ruben Aguero. (Not pictured – Matt Mariola and KWLT President Maryanna Biggio)

We are impressed with the time the students spent com- paring KWLT with six other Ohio land trusts of similar size and scope of operations, and grateful to Owl Creek Conservancy, Appalachian Ohio Alliance, Licking Land Trust, Land Conservancy of Hamilton County, West Creek Conservancy, and Hillside Trust for sharing information.

We are surprised, and in many instances humbled, by the data the students collected. For instance, KWLT holds more conservation easements and protects more acres than the other land trusts in the study, yet we spend fewer hours per week with our easements than any of the others.

Four of the land trusts are fortunate to have at least one paid employee whose job description includes office management, public outreach, fundraising, increasing membership and event planning. KWLT is entirely a volunteer-based, 12-member board of directors. Each has diverse professional skills and/or a desire to enhance their community.

We also have an office in a wonderful setting and centrally located within the county areas we serve. At this time, the office is more or less a storage area for the bundles and boxes of paper documents that accumulate with conservation easements. Our “membership” is loosely defined as many of you who have supported us financially or simply expressed appreciation for what we do.

It now behooves us as a land trust with great responsibility to begin to implement this well-considered and candid assessment of our organization. We feel a good starting point would be to convert our paper-based system to an online database. This could and should be done within the next three to six months. Next comes a full-fledged fundraising campaign and for that we rely on a commitment from our board of trustees and citizens of the communities where we are an important, in many cases unrecognized, presence. And next comes the exciting possibility of a salaried part-time administrator. As with so many good things, it does take money.

Early on in our sessions with Annette, Erin and Ruben we were asked to define KWLT, but what we thought we heard was the word “quilt.” Puzzled, we began to explain that a quilt is made with love, usually patched with beautiful fabrics and patterns, and provides warmth, comfort and beauty. We have made quite a few quilts and have more in the planning stages.

Then it dawned on us, after all these years. Say it out loud: KWLT is “quilt.” We feel like we have a new theme song. Some quilts are a family heirloom and last forever – just like a conservation easement. KWLT is now an acronym, and like so many others, hidden and yet obvious. It took the young and brilliant minds of Annette and Erin and Ruben, along with Matt Mariola, to bring it to our attention. Thank you!

Editors note: Reprinted from Ripples. Sprint 2015. Vol 4. Issue 4. Killbuck Valley Land Trust Newsletter . To see pictures of the other organizations we worked with see our Flickr photo stream.

We are recruiting for Fall 2015!

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

 Do you want a transformative learning experience like Samantha and Usman?

Why: You are tired of a traditional classroom. You want to work on solutions to social justice challenges you have studied in your Women’s and Gender Studies and other programs on campus. You want to learn how social enterprises, in this case, social welfare and education not-for-profit-organizations, solve real-world problems and learn collaboratively with change makers. If any of this is true for you, please read more and take action.images
What: This Fall, the College’s Social Entrepreneurship Program is offering IDPT 405 Local Social Entrepreneurship Seminar. The problems-based experiential-learning seminar will meet Monday evenings from 7:00-10:00PM. Students earn 0.5 academic credits.

How: Teams of three will be paired with a local nonprofit organization. You will work closely with the organizations all semester to help them solve a defined problem they are currently facing. Weekly seminar sessions are led by Dr. Amyaz Moledina (Economics), other faculty to be announced, guest presenters. An expected outcome from the seminar is a business & marketing plan and a final presentation to the Board of the organization. No prior experience necessary. We do require your enthusiasm, passion for the problem, and a strong work-ethic. Space in the seminar is limited. A short application is required. The deadline to submit your application is Saturday April 25th at 4pm. Apply here.

More info: Come to our information session on Sunday April 19th at 8pm in Morgan 201 and Wednesday April 22 at 8pm in APEX.

Local SE 2012

Friday, January 18th, 2013

The Local SE Team from 2012 worked with three organizations this last fall: The Wilderness Center of Wilmot Ohio, Lifes Little Adventure Farm and Green Township Historical Society.  Each of these organizations presented a unique business challenge to the student teams.

Teamwork is awesome! For 2012, Wilderness Center, Green Township and Life Little Adventures SE groups.

Teamwork is awesome! For 2012, Wilderness Center, Green Township and Life Little Adventures SE groups.

One of the challenges in our local community is diagnosing sensory disorder. Even more challenging is trying to finance mental health treatment, especially for low-income children. Life’s Little Adventure Farm had the idea of a cooperative clinic that would be serve low-income families whose children suffer from Sensory Disorder. The Green Township Historical Society came to use with another idea. They wanted to turn the historic Smithville High School into a community center. Finally, our long-time client, the Wilderness Center wanted to create a Wilderness festival showcasing green films to increase environmental awareness. Over the course of the semester, the three student groups worked closely with their clients, meeting weekly. The final product was a financial feasibility plan.

Local SE 2011 a success…a former SE client featured in the Washington Post

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Although we have not posted much, we worked with two clients and started three ventures in 2011. The SE program has now worked with over 25 clients since 2006 when we officially launched. This years projects included repeat clients such as the Wilderness Center, and new clients like Wayne County Family and Children First Council. Student teams developed a spreadsheet business model for sustainable forestry and also a developmental education program to help teens transition into adulthood. Three additional projects were start-up ventures. This is SE first! Students wrote a plan for a Social business – Woosh! that would combine after-school activities for children, experiential learning opportunities for college students and a high-end running shoe store. Another start-up, Backpacks for Kids, a “non-profit pop-up” would provide healthy meals for kids over the weekends and finally GLocal SE, a new experiential learning program for SE graduates. Woosh was a finalist in the Center for Entrepreneurship’s Idea Competition.P4086763

In other news, last year, local Social Entrepreneurship worked with Local Roots, a producer-consumer local foods co-operative. This organization is the first of its kind in the US. The students worked with Jessica, the Local Roots Manager, on a revenue generation model. The team was advised by Dr. Garcia. Today, Local Roots was featured in the Washington Post. Wooster’s SE program is proud to support innovative organizations in our community.

The award-winning program continues in India

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

The award winning program founded collaboratively by-and-for wooster students, faculty, staff and alums returns to India for the second year. Global Social Entrepreneurship (Global SE)  will return and work for EnAble India and Dream a Dream in Bangalore. Four students, Sarah Abboud (Communications), Kipaya Kapiga (International Relations and French), Sam Susanin (Economics) and Erika Takeo (Global Sustainability) will join Professor Moledina and Cathy McConell, Director of the Lilly Project as they work on two projects in Bangalore. A group of alums has promised to come and be part of the experience.

In order to finance their trip, students organized the first ever Wooster Food Crawl, a food tasting event featuring the areas local restaurants and caterers.

Fong Wong - Owner of the Black Squirrel Inn, Prachi Saorogi - Global SE 2010, and Sarah Abboud - Global SE 2011 at the inaugural Wooster Food Crawl

Over 200 community members supported the students and a wide variety of restuarants were featured, including Bake Haus, Zen, Chipotle and the Black Squirrel Inn. Students raised close to $1,000. These funds were matched by the program. Here students are pictured with the Black Squirrel Inn owner, Fong Wong.

Follow the social change learning experience on the Global SE blog.

Social Entreprenuership is recruiting for its local program!

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011


The Social Entrepreneurship Program at the College of Wooster believes that you can solve social problems like poverty, environmental degradation, minority access to education and others by being the agents of change.

Social Entrepreneurship is the process of creative thinking, innovation, risk-taking, and analysis that creates opportunities with sustainable social and economic value.

Our program offers you the unique opportunity to learn about social entrepreneurship by doing. You will develop and use tools for social change by consulting for nonprofits.

Information Meetings on April 5 12-1pm, and 6th 7-8pm in Lowry 118.

The program is divided into three sets of experiences:

  1. An entry-level Local SE seminar IDPT 407 that also offers local internships. This program will be offered Fall 2011. Apply now.
  2. A second-stage Award Winning Global SE seminar IDPT 406 that offers an international field experience. This program is typically offered in the spring. Application details for this experience will be forthcoming.
  3. Students that participate in any of these two experiences can also be recruited to stand-alone internships offered during the summer in North-East Ohio. Please contact the director of SE for more information about internships.

To apply for local SE complete the Application form online. In addition, send an unofficial transcript and resume to Lisa Verdon by 8 pm, Friday, April 15th, 2011. Both paper copies and electronic applications (sent in one email to lverdon (at) wooster (dot) edu) will be accepted. Your application is incomplete until you have filled out the online application and also submitted the supporting documents to Dr. Verdon.

Global SE wins prestigious award

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

The College of Wooster’s Global Social Entrepreneurship (Global SE) program was cited for excellence by the Institute of International Education (IIE). IIE, which also administers the Fulbright program, honored Global SE with the Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education — specifically internationalizing the campus through business education — at the Sixth Annual Best Practices in Internationalization Conference on March 18 in New York City.

Co-Founders: Marianne Sierocinski and Moledina recieve award from Dr. Goodman, President of IIE.

Designed by and for students, alumni, staff, and faculty, Wooster’s Global SE program promotes global citizenship and social entrepreneurship. “It provides a life-changing international experience for students who are actively involved in the planning and implementation of the course development and entrepreneurial experience,” said Amyaz Moledina, co-architect of the program as well as assistant professor of economics and co-director of Wooster’s Center for Diversity and Global Engagement. “Student participants gain a rich appreciation of the global issues that are facing social enterprises in both the U.S. and India. Those who have completed the program have taken what they have learned and used it to develop their own entrepreneurial activities, such as a migrant farm in North Carolina, a rural eye hospital in India, and a student’s own nonprofit in Ghana. Other participants have designed majors around global international development and social enterprise solutions.”


Global SE Students, CSIM Staff and Board, SEOP Course Graduates outside SIET

Erika Takeo, a sophomore from Portland, Ore., said she wanted to be a part of the program because of its hands-on approach to learning. “It is not simply a class where you show up, take notes, and study for exams,” she said. “As in any case where you are working for social change, you must engage completely with the issues and people you are trying to help.”

Marianne Sierocinski, a senior urban studies major from Davie, Fla., said that one of GSE’s major strengths is its structure as a student-driven initiative. “The experience empowers us to embrace ambiguity, take risks, and think creatively in the face of complex challenges,” she said. “It was an incredible learning opportunity for me to contribute so tangibly to the program’s development, transforming a business plan I helped write in 2009 into a program I participated in this past summer.”

The program has two primary components: an on-campus seminar in the spring and a six-week experiential-learning association with social enterprises in Bangalore, India, in the summer. This past year, the group collaborated with Dream a Dream, an internationally recognized Indian organization that works with underprivileged children to inculcate life skills. Another team of three students also worked with EnAble India, an organization that provides innovative training and placement services to Fortune 500 companies for people with disabilities.

The objective, according to Moledina, is not only to provide experiential learning opportunities to train the next generation of global social entrepreneurs, but also to be of value to client organizations. “Most programs of this kind are engaged with organizations for short periods,” he said. “We try to work with these organizations over a longer period of time. Each year, a new group of students takes over where the previous group left off. Were it not for our partners like the Center for Social Initiatives and Management, Experiential Travels, Sattva Consulting, and other social enterprises and individuals like Lilly Paul and Sampath of Arpitha who we worked closely with in Bangalore, we would not have been a success. Even more strongly, our alumni such as Jairaj Daniel, showed early support and were instrumental in ensuring we succeeded and continue to thrive. Our business model is based on collaboration, and awards like this indicate that Wooster’s program is distinctive.

“Business education is unusual at liberal arts schools,” added Moledina. “Even more so, a multidisciplinary approach to problem solving that welcomes students from a range of majors, such as international relations, communications, math, economics, and sociology is equally unique.”

IIE President and CEO Allan E. Goodman indicated that this year’s Heiskell Award winners represent some of the world’s best initiatives in internationalizing higher education. “As institutions continue to innovate, taking their internationalization efforts to new heights and depths, we look forward to continuing our tradition of recognizing their commitment to excellence and meeting the global mandate of our time,” he said.

The Institute of International Education awards are designed to promote and honor the most outstanding initiatives in international higher education by IIE Network member universities and colleges. In recognizing excellence and innovation, the Institute hopes to support them in their endeavors and to signal a new and important role for international education on campus.

“Global SE is an innovative program that embraces our core values and enables our students to realize their full potential as engaged scholars and global citizens,” said College of Wooster President Grant Cornwell. “It also prepares them to make significant contributions to our complex and interdependent world.”

Alumni Trustee Sandeep Bhatia added, “It is an honor for Wooster to be recognized for what it has done best since its founding: putting students and faculty together to understand complex issues. Global SE is a new model that seeks to integrate staff and alumni minds together with Wooster’s core competency of student-faculty collaboration in the direction of entrepreneurship for the global good.”

Social Entrepreneruship 2011 begins

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Vishal Talreja, Wooster's first Intl Entrepreneur in Residence with the 2010 Global SE Team.

Twenty-ten was a great year! Highlights include the launch of Global SE, hosting Wooster’s first International Entrepreneur in Residence and administrative commitments to ensure that Global SE remains part of the Global Engagement landscape at Wooster as we move forward with strategic planning. We begin this new year with considerable excitement and energy!

Local SE Team for 2011

We have recruited two new staff to our ranks: Cezar Mesquita and Charles Laube, both from Admissions. We have an SE first! Carolyn Ciriegio, an SE alum who works in alumni relations (I did not make that up!) has returned to lead a team! Carolyn says “I never imagined I would be back to implement the recommendations that I wrote as a student when I last worked with SE and AMRE.” Local SE is excited to work with four new clients this year — Main Street Wooster, Wooster Community Hospital, Wooster Local Roots, and Wayne County Sustainable Energy Network. Twelve students have been recruited to begin the local seminar on Friday Jan 14th.

Four students have been admitted into Global SE: Sarrah Abboud, Kipaya Kapiga, Sam Susanin and Erika Takeo. In May we will return to work with Dream a Dream and ENAble India. In the meantime, the Global SE students will study the problems given to us by the organizations in India and understand the Indian social enterprise landscape as well as the challenges of eliminating poverty.

In the meantime, I have been “playing with technology”. Below is a neat educational Prezi that I put together last night, based on Dr. Seuss’s “Oh the places you will go.” After watching it, it should be clear that the entrepreneurial ecosystem is alive and well at the College of Wooster.

All the places you will go on Prezi

Scaling new heights

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Seven undergraduates design academic experience and work with social enterprises in India

Summer internships help college students acquire valuable life skills, but Amyaz Moledina, associate professor of economics at The College of Wooster, and a multidisciplinary team of students have taken the concept to a new level with the Global Social Entrepreneurship problem-based learning experience.

The program is similar to Wooster’s Applied Mathematics Research Experience (AMRE), which assigns exceptional mathematics and computer science majors to serve as consultants for businesses, educational institutions, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.

The latest endeavor has been “quite a few years in the making,” according to Moledina. “We were looking for ways in which to innovate from the AMRE model. We thought, why not try to do what we do so well in our local community, globally?”

As Director of Social Entrepreneurship, Moledina asked a team of students to design a unique global social entrepreneurship program that had a field component. Students designed and wrote a comprehensive social entrepreneurship education plan. On the strength of this plan, Moledina and one of his students, Marianne Sierocinski, traveled to India the previous summer to visit with 10 organizations and begin constructing a framework for the seminar and field experience. Moledina then organized and received approval for a special preparatory seminar. “We tried to set-up a situation where we could observe a problem through the lens of an organization that works with people in need,” he says. “The design of the seminar was unique in that I put the students in the driver’s seat and let them take charge of the learning process. I think this is the first time students have been involved in designing their own academic experience. I know of few other academic experiences that begin from a student-authored business plan.”

Shortly after the seminar ended in May, the students began their field experience, which recently concluded in Banglore, India. Student teams provided consulting services for two internationally recognized local social enterprises: Dream a Dream, which works with underprivileged children to inculcate life skills, and Enable India, which provides training and placement services to Fortune 500 companies for people with disabilities.

“Our goal has been to help the students use their skills to understand and solve the problem given to them,” says Moledina. “What’s interesting and exciting is that the problem is always evolving and ambiguous. This rarely happens in a regular academic experience.”

Dream a Dream is hoping to improve its impact assessment on the children it serves, and the Wooster students have been deeply involved in the effort. Enable India wants to look at various business models so that the organization can reach more people with its services, and Wooster students invested their critical thinking skills in that project as well.

The two organizations benefit from the free service, and the students, who come from a range of academic disciplines (including sociology, anthropology, economics and international relations), benefit from the experience of working with people of different age groups from different cultures.

“I believe that if we truly are a college that changes lives, we need to empower our students to learn continuously and help them connect to the world,” says Moledina. “The global landscape is changing rapidly, and we need to give students a chance to experience it as it happens. Their vision is evolving, and I don’t want to put any limits on it.”

To learn more about the students’ experience check out their blog and see the pictures on Flikr.

Students present ideas for social change!

Friday, April 30th, 2010

While most people celebrated Easter by taking a break, twelve students diligently put final touches to business plans for local non-profits. This years’ local SE group worked with four organizations: Goodwill, Every Woman’s House, Wooster City Schools and Cleveland Jazz Orchestra (CJO). In preparation for their final pitches to the Board of Directors of their respective organizations, students presented their plans to a group of their peers on Saturday, April 2 .

Early communication suggests that this year was a success. Erika Federman of CJO said,  our “board was impressed-as am I-by the quality of your work and by your professionalism. I loved your presentation-you did a wonderful job of presenting a LOT of information in a very succinct, easy to digest manner.  Your instincts and your line of thinking/questioning have been right on point. We will be implementing some of your suggestions in the very near future.”

Chris Miller presents Goodwill's Recycling Project

Students also report high levels of satisfaction. For example, Josh Madsen ’10 who worked with Goodwill Industries said, “Working in the capacity of business consultants through the social entrepreneurship program provided our team with a sense of confidence. Learning how to interact with a group of passionate and motivated student consultants taught our teams valuable collaborative skills that we will undoubtedly draw upon in a professional work environment.” Chris Miller ’11 also commented that the program “demands creativity, passion and versatility from students to be effective in ultimately satisfying the client. I am now comfortable communicating… with a wide range of professionals and entrepreneurs.”

To see more pictures of the day, follow our Flikr photostream.