Local SE group featured in local conservation land trust newsletter

June 1st, 2015

Students were featured in the Killbuck Watershed Land Trust Newsletter!

SE’s value proposition

February 19th, 2014

By Samantha McNelly
As a first year college student, I only had a general idea of what I wanted my major to be and what I wanted to do after college. I just knew that eventually, I wanted to work in an environment that allowed me to help make the lives of others better.

Samantha McNelly

Samantha McNelly

I certainly had no idea how to reach that goal, or really what that even meant to me. When I enrolled in the local social entrepreneurship program, I was quickly thrown into a world of budgets, business plans, and risk analyses, which were quite far removed from the abstract political discussions in which I often found myself involved. Instead of using academic tools to understand a problem, I was being forced to use business and analytical tools to act on a problem. In the global social entrepreneurship program, I was able to use many of the skills I learned in local social entrepreneurship and apply them in a dramatically different cultural, political, social, and economic environment.

The local and global social entrepreneurship programs cannot be oversold. These two programs helped me cultivate new skills and interests that dramatically improved my personal agency. While there is a certain academic element to these programs, they reach much deeper than any other classroom experience and force the students to challenge any preconceived notions they have about a particular issue and then find a way to address the root of the problem in an innovative, creative, and practical way. This is not easy for a group of 18-22 year olds, but I saw remarkable growth in my teammates and myself as a result of tackling these daunting challenges.

It has now been three years since I participated in the local social entrepreneurship program, and two years since I went to India with the global team. I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that these two programs not only helped me determine my major, but were more formative than any of my other experiences in college because they reach beyond traditional academics and demand creativity, dedication, a positive attitude, humility paired with persistence, and the willingness to grow personally. Because of my participation in the social entrepreneurship programs, I am much more comfortable tackling problems and projects that others find overwhelming or “impossible.” I have a greater belief in my own abilities and potential to affect positive change in the world. I have had experiences I would have never had without these programs and met many wonderful people that I am a better person for having spent time with. I have acquired an intense, positive, persistent, and sometimes single-minded determination to defy expectations and push the limits of what is traditionally accepted as “good enough,” because I now believe that it is within my abilities to do something real, powerful, and groundbreaking. I have transformed from a concerned and confused student to an active and empowered soon-to-be college graduate. Most importantly, I have learned about myself and gained confidence in my abilities and passions, which I know will continue to push me to explore new opportunities, accept and overcome more challenges, and to continue to make myself better so I am better able to pursue my goals.

Editors note: Sam is currently in the Peace Corps program in Cameroon.

Local SE 2012

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 serve children from low-income families who suffer from Sensory Disorder. The Green Township Historical Society came to us 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

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.

Local SE Final Presentations

November 7th, 2011

Have you ever been curious about Social Entrepreneurship(SE) at Wooster?  Have you ever wondered about what students do in SE?  Here is your opportunity to find out.  Our five Local SE teams will be presenting their plans for social change in our community on Monday, November 14 at 7 pm in Lean Lecture Hall.  Please join us.  (Snacks provided.)

BigBANG! Sparking Social Innovation

October 24th, 2011

Join us to learn and explore ways of solving large social issues with innovative solutions.  Hear Peter Senge, Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Founder of Society for Organizational Learning and award-winning author of The Fifth Discipline and explore how you could grow as a leader in social innovation.  This is a unique LiveStream interactive program open to anyone who is interested.  Snacks will be provided!

When: Friday, October 28 from 2 – 5 pm

Where: Lean Lecture Hall

What the SE Experience meant for me

July 21st, 2011

By Usman Gul

Sometime during my sophomore year at Wooster, I began to weigh my options about the many different paths in life that I could adopt after graduation.  Public policy, urban planning, behavioral economics and econometrics all seemed to be fine options, but first I had to decide whether I wanted to create jobs or seek jobs – was I to be an employee or an employer?

I wanted to be an employer. As a budding entrepreneur, the Social Entrepreneurship (SE) program was the only program at Wooster that provided students an opportunity to explore their entrepreneurial talents in a real-world setting. I worked with a non-profit organization that operated on grants from generous donors to promote the use of solar energy in and around Wayne County. As consultants, my teammates and I were required to propose a revenue generation model that would help the organization move closer to financial sustainability.

Usman Gul, Sam McNelly, Shitong Zhan and Moledina at the SE Seminar

For me, the SE program was a very effective reality check. I realized through first-hand experience that I needed to be more flexible in working with my teammates. Maybe I was a better candidate for a particular task, but what if my teammates really wanted to do that task as well? It seemed like I had to choose between group performance and team chemistry. However, faculty members who were supervising our project helped me find extremely simple solutions through which I did not have to compromise on either end. I ended up putting in my best effort for team performance, while also staying on excellent terms with my teammates.

Working with an external organization that had nothing to do with the College was an experience of its own. I learned all the little things that pile up to make a big difference in professional relationships. Working under pressure, constructing flow diagrams to visualize our project in group meetings, preparing an agenda before each meeting (and sticking to the agenda!), and being (or at least sounding) enthusiastic about the discussions in early morning meetings were only some of things I was able to master at an early stage.

Perhaps the most important lesson, for me at least, was to think outside of the box. One downside of taking so many objective and quantitative courses is that we begin to assume that there is one right answer to every question. Through the SE program, I realized that there were so many different ways of going about a particular project that possibilities were literally endless. However, the trick was to eliminate the uncertainty by acquiring the necessary information and then objectively and collectively decide the merits of every potential solution.

I feel that my time at Wooster would certainly have been incomplete without the SE experience.

Editors note: Upon graduation Usman was an Invest2Innovate Fellow. Thereafter he moved to New York where he worked for MasterCard. He is now in the Bay area working for Marqeta, a payment processing firm.

The award-winning program continues in India

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!

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

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 innovated. Examples include a student that began documenting the conditions of migrant farmers in North Carolina, a student that decided to work in a rural eye hospital in India, and a student who used what learned in her 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.”