What’s Next? A Journey After the Sullivan Retreat

by Julie Sparks, Rollins College Student

What is my next step in becoming a social entrepreneur?  I imagine there are a million different plans, one for every individual. But here is my perspective on the next steps.

First, I am looking at my own actions more critically. What can I do on a personal level to help others and be more efficient? A fellow student I met on the Sullivan Ignite Retreat is fundraising to teach psychology in Nigeria; how could I help? I can share it on Facebook and encourage people I know to donate. Forging these connections will help others find the opportunities they seek to bring about change. Can I be more efficient in my own life? I can become more environmentally conscious by looking at the companies and ingredients contributing to products I buy. A consumer’s choice is one of the most powerful methods of changing the means of production. Changemaking requires a community, not just an individual, to inspire changes.


Second, what can I do to continue to learn about changemaking? I plan to engage with Leadership Exchange, a program that teaches students about social entrepreneurship in foreign countries. I want to learn about how other countries are solving their social issues, and if those ideas can be applied in Central Florida. There is global connection in social entrepreneurship because we are all one people on one Earth. Local help is needed as well as help in other areas.  A man in Central Florida that is given help might then move across the country and help another. The cycle of change making continues long past the first individual.

Third, how can I be a changemaker at home? Rollins has more opportunities for helping others than I have ever seen on a campus. The Social Innovation Hub sits at the center of these possibilities. It holds the Ideas for Good Competition every spring, which I intend to participate in. This challenge consists of pitching an idea to solve social issues to a panel of judges.  The chosen winner receives funding for their project. I had a small passion ignite when I went on the Sullivan Retreat. The idea grew into a tangible plan for helping others and I look forward to forming it into a pitch for the Rollins competition.




All these stages occur separately and at the same time, continuously. When I have completed my plan, I will continue to think critically of my choices and learn about changemaking skills and opportunities. Changemaking is always evolving to fit the location, time, and people. The Sullivan Retreat equipped me with problem solving, grant-writing, social connecting skills. These are just skills, and they can be put to use in any way that applies to my passion. This retreat gives encouragement and training to educational, governmental, medical, or any other areas of changemaking. The skills I learned from the Sullivan Retreat can be easily be brought home to Rollins, and applied in competitions, clubs, or research. I cannot say what is definitely next in the world of social entrepreneurship for me. But I can say that I will have two weeks to learn about changemaking in Prague this summer, and the Ideas for Good Challenge to keep me involved in encouraging social change on campus.

I am thankful for the inspiration and insight Sullivan gave me to engage in changemaking. I am also thankful for the continued encouragement and support from the Rollins’ Social Innovation Hub. I am looking forward to continuing my path in social entrepreneurship and learning the “ropes” of change.


One comment

  1. Mary Conway Dato-on · November 22, 2016

    Very interesting Julia! I can’t wait for the Ideas for Good Challenge next semester. Thanks for helping lead the charge and changemaking at Rollins!


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