Rollins is one of 16 schools to be honored.
On Thursday, September 6, Rollins commemorated its distinction of being the first liberal arts institution in the South and the first college in Florida to join the Changemaker Campus Consortium with a day-long series of events.
Proclaimed Rollins College Changemaker Campus Day by Mayor of Winter Park Kenneth W. Bradley, the day offered the Rollins community a chance to unite in celebration of the College’s distinguished honor of being recognized as an institution driving social change through transformative educational experiences. Rollins' designation as a Changemaker Campus by Ashoka U, the world’s leading network of social entrepreneurs, is the result of a shared vision across campus coming to fruition.
“This designation has been two years in the making but this is only the beginning,” said Chrissy Garton, director of social innovation at Rollins who has spearheaded the initiative. “Moving forward, we are in the process of developing an innovation hub for aspiring social entrepreneurs to nurture and develop their skills, a social entrepreneurship curriculum, and fellowships to support socially innovative ideas. The world is looking at us to set the example and be a leader in the field.”
The festivities included a social entrepreneurship involvement fair and free and open lecture by New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof, a Winter Park Institute visiting scholar, as well as a presentation by Director of Ashoka U Marina Kim and Kristof along with the planting of an oak tree, the official symbol of Ashoka U.
“We’ve put a stake in the ground that Rollins is committed to the ideals of innovation, collaboration, cooperation, and sustainability,” said Kim. “This designation is demonstrated and embodied by the Rollins community’s commitment to empowering students to think and act in an effort to make a difference in our world.”
Founded in 1981, Ashoka supports a network of almost 3,000 leading social entrepreneurs who are addressing social challenges across all sectors in more than 60 countries. Launched in 2008, Ashoka U offers the Changemaker Campus designation to leading institutions in social entrepreneurship with robust interdisciplinary approaches to teaching, research, and action for the benefit of society. The consortium will grow to 30 diverse institutions by 2015 — and will be capped at that number.
“We are honored by this designation from Ashoka,” said Rollins College President Lewis Duncan. “We embrace social entrepreneurship as an effective problem-solving tool for social change and encourage our students to gain the knowledge, skills, and wisdom to address our many societal and environmental challenges.”
As a new Changemaker Campus, Rollins College joins 15 other schools: Arizona State University, Babson College, College of the Atlantic, Cornell University, Duke University, George Mason University, Johns Hopkins University, Marquette University, Middlebury College, Tecnológico de Monterey-Guadalajara Campus, The New School, Tulane University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Maryland, and University of San Diego.