Anisha’s Story


Anisha is a Global Links student who felt inspired to continue pursuing the Global Links programs despite setbacks with not being chosen as one of the final five Changemakers. Despite that though Anisha preserved.

Anisha’s Story by Anisha Pandey, Global Links Student

When I first read the inspirational quote by our late President, Sri Abul Kalam Azad: If you fail, never give up because F.A.I.L. means “First Attempt In Learning”, it felt motivating, but I did not know it would become my life in a few months’ time.

It was the month of October when 14 Global Links volunteers had come a long way through and it was time for the final selection. I was also amongst them. Clearing Phase II and stepping into Phase III was the only thing we wished for then. With hopes and aspirations, we were eagerly waiting for the names being called. Alas!! I could not hear my name. For a moment everything was at a standstill. I was extremely happy for my friends but also sad at my own failure. That was the time when I felt I wasn’t capable of anything. Doing good in academics alone would take me nowhere. This mental disturbance started affecting my preparations for the graduation final exams which were within a few months, but Prof. Banerjee stood by my side. Her way of scolding us at our mistakes and also applauding us for every small achievement just like a mother made me believe in myself. I did not make it through Phase III, but it was time to implement all that I had learned from Phases I and II. During my school days, I thought that making a to-do list was just a waste of ink and paper but its importance was understood during my GL journey. How Prof. Banerjee completed all her work on time before going to bed was highly appreciable. I started copying her. Preparing a to-do list every day helped me complete my hectic Graduation syllabus on time in an organized manner.

Exams were now over but what next??? Dr. Mary Conway Dato-on had once told me “Anisha, what if your client isn’t cooperative, use your ideas and creativity, it will help you”. I did not have any clients yet but I had my creativity. I started making gift items using old newspapers just to utilize my time and creativity. People started noticing my art and within a short span of time, I even received orders from a Multinational Company.

One day, 400 final year students were called for an orientation program organized by a Multinational Company (Tata Consultancy Services) at our college campus. I would love to deliver my handmade products to an MNC but I had no plans of working in an MNC, and not making through Phase III had lowered by self-confidence to some extent. GL taught us to grab all the opportunities that come our way, so why not give it a try?. Around 400 students were given a 10-day training. We were asked to prepare charts, reports and also give presentations. GL had made us make so many reports and presentations that while my friends panicked and found it a tough task I found it to be an interesting activity. My presentation was also praised a lot and I was selected amongst the 250 students who would take an aptitude test to the next selection stage. Everything was going well and 100 students including me were selected for the next three rounds of interview.

Dressed up in formal attire, 100 aspiring candidates were waiting for the first round of interviews. It was the technical round and I could easily make it through. It was time for the second round, in which 5 panelists would be questioning us to judge our confidence and our way of presenting ourselves in front of a group of people. Because of GL, I was familiar with giving presentations and speaking in front of around 50 people at the American Centre, so 5 wasn’t a big deal. My confidence kept growing. I was selected for the third and final round of interviews, which was the HR round. It was time for the names of selected candidates to be called. The entire scenario was similar to that of the American Centre 6 months back. There were 14 volunteers there and there were 50 students here. The Consulate General had the envelope in his hand then and the HR manager of the company had the envelope in his hand now. My confidence faded away recalling may past failure. It was now time for the names to be announced. Everything was going just the same but there was one BIG difference. I did not hear my name then but I did hear my name now. YES! I made it through. Same scenario, same situation but with one big difference. I wasn’t a failure now. I could win back my confidence. What a moment it was!

Everybody fails at some point in their lives. What matters most is moving forward and never giving up on success. GL showed me how I couldn’t succeed, which, in essence, made me prepared for success.


Ashoka U Exchange Experience by Josephine Balzac, J.D., LL.M

Empathy, the Foundation of Change

Josephine Balzac, J.D., LL.M.

Visiting Assistant Professor

Department of Business

The Ashoka U Exchange experience allowed me to experience empathy like I never have before. I learned that a true changemaker embraces all disciplines, because changemaking is truly interdisciplinary and is rooted in empathy. This foundational principle was the overwhelming theme interwoven into every keynote, academic panel, discussion, and excursion during the three day Ashoka U Exchange conference. This one little word was impacting me more than ever before. I could feel its power and purpose. Empathy surprisingly took center stage; a word that has never been near being the main dish. It was always either the side dish to a particular discipline or perhaps the nonexistent desert that would ruin the diet. I say this because we have never been taught “empathy”; it is not a subject or class, and it is hardly ever a dinner table conversation. Yet, knowing, understanding, and utilizing it in our everyday lives, could make this world a better place. It perhaps could “be the change, we wish to see in the world” as Ghandi eloquently expressed at one point in time.

I was beyond excited to attend the Ashoka U Exchange and was so grateful for the opportunity to experience it. As a tree hugging environmental attorney teaching Business Law and Ethics in the Department of Business, I was ready to be a sponge and soak up as much knowledge as I could  from experts on changemaking, social innovation, and social entrepreneurship. I was also eager to see the connection between sustainability, public policy and law, benefit corporations, social justice, and underrepresented communities (all panel discussions I attended). What I wasn’t expecting and what I found to be a pleasant surprise, was the genuine and sincere human interaction that I encountered; one that began with an instant mutual respect for one another. I did not expect to be in a room with close to 1000 like-minded individuals, all of whom wanted to change the world for the better. Each conversation was profound, it made you dig deeper within yourself, there was no judgement, no agendas, no envy, no dislike, but a genuine care and understanding for each other and what we believe in. The conference challenged us to not only think outside the box, but to step out of our comfort zones, create “brave” spaces not “safe” spaces and embrace and accept all those around you, especially, if those people or opinions are different than your own.

As I walked around attending the different discussions, I couldn’t help but think that this very simple concept, if fully implemented, could actually change the world. In essence, the idea is very simple, because think about it, we all feel empathy or mutual care and understanding at one point or another, for the ones we love, our children, our spouses, our mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, best friends, and yes, even our pets. So if empathy isn’t difficult to comprehend or even recognize, then why is it so difficult to apply to others in the world around us? Isn’t this what makes us human, as well as define us as one humanity and human race? We all laugh, cry, love, desire, think, and grow, which reminds me of a favorite quote from JFK, “Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

I have always been a promoter for people and planet over profit and an advocate for environmental and climate justice – focused on addressing issues through a human rights approach. This is the reason I became an environmental attorney, because I discovered the inspiring connection between obtaining our rights as humans and having a clean and healthy environment.  I saw how the pollution of our air, water, soil, and food, caused loss of life, health, property, and culture, and that these horrible impacts affected the most vulnerable and marginalized communities of color and low income, both locally and within developing countries. I thoroughly understand the intersectionality between social and environmental justice. Throughout the years, I never analyzed the fact of how these impacts were not necessarily directly affecting me, yet, I cared;  I felt compassion, I felt a heightened respect for others to have the best quality of life, through a clean, safe, and healthy environment, in order for them to fulfill their inherent rights as humans. I realized at the Ashoka U Exchange that I was leading with empathy to make a positive impact in the world. As I walked through Ashoka, I focused on the meaning of empathy and I started to think, what would business, policy, environmental, and activist decisions look like if empathy was collectively intertwined at the core? I imagined it very differently. Could finding solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges be as simple as injecting empathy across disciplines, issues, and beliefs? Is this the missing link? Should empathy be the new “golden rule”? I absolutely believe so.

Those three days infused every cell of my body with feelings of empathy and I vowed to challenge the status quo and implement it in my class curriculum, in my legal advocacy for policy decisions, in my activism for environmental and social justice, in business practices, and in community relationships. In doing so I will reach across party lines. To help change policy, I will engage in interfaith connections, I will be an activist not only from the outside, where reaching out to the other side is rare; but also from within the depths of dissent, to better understand the business of maximizing profits and figure out ways to educate and change from within, while working together across disciplines. By doing this, we can more effectively educate and ensure the mission of Rollins College, which is building “global citizens and responsible leaders with meaningful lives and productive careers.” I shall work harder than ever before to teach students and lead by example to be “environmental stewards who are socially responsible”.

In closing, and most importantly, I want to engage the students so that not only do they learn the importance of empathy, but end up wanting to implement it in their communities and careers. If all of us in our lives, practice this simple concept, we would achieve a unity in purpose, which is to achieve the mission of being the best we can possibly be with each other and ultimately “Be the Change”!


750 participants. 150 colleges and universities. 100 sessions. 3 days. 1 Ashoka U Exchange.


I had the amazing opportunity of being one of the only two students who were chosen to attend the Ashoka U Exchange conference in Miami. The Exchange took place Thursday, March 2nd through Saturday, March 4th. The Ashoka U Exchange is an annual conference that takes place in a different city each year. The Exchange is not your ordinary conference. It focuses on social innovation, social change, and social entrepreneurship within higher education on college campuses. The conference is packed with keynotes, panels, workshops, and site visits to some of the community partners that surround the conference center. At the Exchange people from all over the world come to learn how they can develop a stronger system to create social innovation within their everyday life and on their campus. Personally, for me, it was about learning what it means to make a social impact at Rollins College.

From a 1st year undergraduate student’s perspective the exchange conference was something that I have never seen nor been introduced to before. There were people from all over the world. Each person came to Ashoka U because we all share the same passion, which is wanting to make a change in the world. However, each person at the exchange came in with a new innovative idea and hopes to learn how to make that change in the world or on their college campus. The diversity in race and age was incredible and inspiring. There were over 80 sessions to choose from spread out over the course of 3 days. I was so excited about the sessions, so much that I wish I could go back in time and take all the sessions again. Each session held new knowledge, opportunities and programs that had to do with either social innovation, social change, or social entrepreneurship. Although, many of the sessions were geared towards educators in higher education, I must say that I still learned more than I expected. One of my favorite sessions took place at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. The Pérez Museum is about enriching the community that you are a part of. The museum takes the original museum experience beyond the museum’s walls and into the community with a variety of outreach programs across Miami-Dade County. One of the outreach programs is called B-Me. B-Me is an organization that focuses on asset- framing to tell better stories. They recognize black men as assets and not threats to the community. In our session, a couple of things really stood out to me, the first being “value all members of the human family” and the second “the story you tell creates the life you will live”. If every human could value everyone as a part of their own family, then the world would become a better place over night. Today in society people are too wrapped up in creating a judgement on people based on their skin color or their past.  How we value others depends on how we value ourselves. “You will be as much value to others as you have been to yourself”. – Marcs T Cicero

Sullivan Ignite Retreat: a powerful weekend of personal and professional growth

by Evan Joss, Rollins College student

The Sullivan Ignite Retreat was a three-day retreat to Durham, North Carolina where students had the opportunity to hone in on their changemaking skills to make a positive difference in the world.  Like-minded changemakers joined together and enjoyed a weekend full of s’mores, arts and crafts, and social innovation!  As a student involved with the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub at Rollins, I learned skills that I could bring back and use at school and at the Hub.

The Sullivan Ignite Retreat not only provided a constructive learning atmosphere among like-minded and entrepreneurial spirited individuals, but it also shed light on the importance of making connections and breaking free from comfort zones. Students attend this retreat to learn more about the problems they wish to solve, network with students from around the world, and expand their knowledge of what it means to truly be an entrepreneur.

The most significant skill I gained from this experience came from an activity I participated in that allowed me to pretend I was a business owner speaking with certain investors, partners, and/or customers I would interact with if I really was the owner of my business. It gave me insight into the necessity of real-world conversations that are vital to creating and sustaining a business.

In terms of how this retreat impacted my professional goals, I would not only say it was a positive result, but would also recommend it to anyone interested in growing an idea, project, or business venture of their own. From the facilitators to the students to the cafeteria cooks, everyone involved with this experience was dedicated to honestly instilling a meaningful and powerful weekend of personal and professional growth.

The best part of the Sullivan Ignite Retreat is that it is never-ending. Even though the retreat itself may have only been one weekend long, I am still connected and involved with the people I met and worked with. However, they are not just people anymore. They are my friends.

Thoughts about the Re-Thinking Fashion Event

by students of Rollins College

The Rethinking Fashion Event took place on March 28th, 2017 in the Galloway Room.  Students modeled clothing lines by Eileen Fisher, Deux Mains, and Ten Thousand Villages.  Dr. Warnecke’s Global Development class gave their thoughts about this unique event.  With Earth Day just around the corner now is a great time to revisit what students gained from this experience.

The Rethinking Fashion Event was a great success! Students enjoyed an informative poster session followed by an extravagant fashion show where they had the opportunity to enjoy some yummy food like samosas and coconut crusted chicken!  During the poster sessions, they learned about ethical fashion, fair trade companies, and the practices of these companies.  The runaway show offered the opportunity to see the products in action.  As consumers, we must be aware of the products that we are buying and the statement we are making with our money.  The event helped educate students about this.  There are so many ways for each and every one of us to be a changemaker–spending wisely is just one way that this can be achieved.  The producers are changemakers as well!

 For example, one student learned about a backpack that was being made by indigenous people in Guatemala–they learned the process and how long it took to make.  For many students, the poster session helped increase knowledge on the unique style of fashion that is sustainable and ethical fashion.  There’s a lot of work that goes into fashion that consumers don’t know about and thus contributes to higher prices.  Artists work hard to get their line out for purchase, sometimes being paid 50% of the price beforehand so that they can afford to buy supplies without taking on loans.  Modeling is tough work, too! Our models had to make sure they looked their best before the show and took the time to get their hair and makeup done by our community organizers! The end result was absolutely amazing.

 Through attendance of the Fashion Event, students will be more mindful when shopping at these companies and become ethical consumers.  Students also had a great opportunity to network with Ten Thousand Villages, Deux Mains (Rebuild Globally) and Eileen Fisher.  Learning more about these companies is a great way to further your pursuit of change making fashion.  Ten Thousand Villages has a store right off Park Ave–it’s worth checking out! The convenient location was a nice surprise for those just learning about these companies.  Some students that already knew about these companies were surprised to find out some of the business policies that these ethical businesses utilize.  During the event attendees got the chance to buy merchandise from Rebuild Globally.  Every dollar spent was put to use for a good cause.  Now, you may be wondering why there weren’t as many men modeling during the fashion show, well the answer is that there is currently no sustainable or ethical fashion line available for men in the immediate area that the Innovation Hub could partner with.  Perhaps in the future, this will be something that can be achieved.  

The models were successful in showing off the products–one dress even sold for over $200!  The Global Links students that were visiting from Kolkata, India added an additional cultural layer to the event that was widely appreciated.  Their colorful dresses left the attendees stunned.  The event was a highlight for them and they certainly enjoyed their time there.

 The Global Development students had to prepare for their own poster session showcasing global problems that they wanted to solve.  Going to the fashion show was an eye-opener to learn about what makes a poster stand out and how to conduct a good presentation.  Overall, the Re-thinking Fashion event was a fun learning experience for everyone and showed how you can look fashionable while being a changemaker at the same time!  Thank you so much to the Innovation Hub for setting up this event and helping us become smarter consumers!  



Thoughts from our Global Links Changemakers!

To begin with, let’s just say what we experienced these last 2 weeks was different, very different.  Different in the best possible way! The regular conversations about the 2 weeks with our family and friends back home have been subtle mentions that we want to go back to Florida. Hence a compilation of the things which the 5 of us want to highlight.

1. In this foreign country, we were fortunate enough to receive a home, away from home. We got a family, leaving whom was the toughest part of our trip abroad.

2.  We never realized that the college campus could be this huge! For us Rollins College is a town within a town! Exploring the greater area of Orlando highlighted how much bigger the Rollins community is.  There is a lot for students to do here!

3. The Innovation Hub is the coolest space ever! How we wish we could spend our entire day spinning in those lounge chairs.

4.  The bright faces of people greeting us all the time, automatically, brightened up our day. All the people we met and interacted with in these last 2 weeks had a great impact on us.

5.  Dreams came true and everything seemed magical at Disney and Universal. We can’t stop thanking Mr. Accapadi and Austin for arranging our tickets and Liz for spending her entire day with us at Disney. Best weekend ever, undoubtedly!

6. How could we not mention the food which was a surprise to us daily!  We got to try dishes that we wouldn’t have gotten the chance to try in India.

To conclude, we made the most out of the 2 weeks and the love and support that we got was overwhelming.  We look forward to meeting everyone again. We are sending out an open invitation for all to visit India. So, until next time!

-Kalapi Dutta

Shirsita Banerjee

Sreedipta Dhar Choudhury

Surabhi Mishra

Swayan Ghosh

(Global Links Changemakers)


A Visit from Craig L. Hall, the U.S. Consul General to Kolkata, India

Ankit Pandey, 2018 MBA Candidate, Crummer Graduate School of Business 



It was a fascinating experience to hear from the U.S. Consul General in Kolkata, Craig L. Hall. Before I attended his speaking event, I had minor knowledge about his position and the U.S. embassy in India in general. I honestly believed the embassy only dealt with visas and immigrations, but after hearing Dr. Hall’s speech, I learned there was more.  The embassy does deal with visas and immigrations, but it is also the foreign ambassador for the United States. It aids in building a better relationship between the two India and the U.S., and provides resources to shape the community surrounding the embassy. I learned about the research being done on curing tuberculosis, and the combined effort between researchers from the U.S. and India. I also learned about USAID (United States Agency of International Development) and the roles it plays in helping the allied countries develop in different areas such as economic, environment, finance, etc.


Dr. Hall also talked about career opportunities through the U.S. State Department, and how to become a qualified candidate for a Foreign Service Officer position. The process is much tougher than I thought, especially the initial exam, which requires a great deal of knowledge about world news in general. He also mentioned the hardships a person might face working in this field—the traveling involved, and random process of assigning countries to employees, at least in their early years.  If a person, however, is willing to embrace these hurdles, it is a great opportunity travel around the world.  Foreign Service Officers work in, learn, and experience the culture and the traditions of the countries where they are assigned.


I would like to thank Dr. Hall for taking time to visit Rollins College and speak.  It was inspiring to hear about his experiences in India, Indonesia, Iraq, and Australia. I was quite surprised he had a chance to visit Jamshedpur, India, a town where I was born.  He not only travels to different countries, but also to many major cities within the country, adding to his experience and mission as a Foreign Service Officer.


My Global Links Journey Begins – Phase I

By Dr. Rumpa Chakraborty, Global Links Scholar 


After the completion of my Masters, I started working as a lecturer at Shri Shikshayatan College, which is one of the most renowned undergraduate girls’ colleges of Kolkata. Over the years I worked hard in preparing my lectures, so that I can guide my students to complete their final exams with flying colors.

Within a few years I became successful in developing my relationship with my beloved students who accepted me as their friend, philosopher, and guide. I was quite happy and satisfied teaching young groups of students, and nurturing their ideas, thoughts and values. But my mind started haunting me: ‘Am I adequately fulfilling my job responsibility?’  I want to make sure I am doing so—especially when students ask me to guide them in choosing the best possible career options. I started searching ways in which they can start their career “as a job giver rather than a job seeker.”  I am grateful to my college authority for standing beside me and helping me to start an Entrepreneurial Cell in collaboration with National Entrepreneurship Network, where we started holding workshops and training programs to develop certain entrepreneurial skills of the student members.

In August 2016, I came to know about Global Links (GL) Program, which opened a book full of answers to my queries about properly guiding my students and guiding them to lead meaningful impact in their lives.  I must mention that the college where I teach belongs to a trust of the Marwari community. In India, they are the community that is renowned for their business acumen, but at the same time they are very conservative—they hardly allow their women to be engaged in income earning avenues. It is for this reason that I feel the girls in my college, who are mostly Marwaris need to be engaged in a program like Global Links.  I am thankful to GL for selecting me and giving me an opportunity to show the best possible carrier option to my students.

My phase I GL journey began in January 2017. It was January 14, 2017 at about 10:30am when I landed at Orlando airport to participate in Phase I of the GL Program. After facing tedious immigration process for 2hrs 30mins, I was overwhelmed with joy and happiness when I met my mentor Mary Conway Dato-on of Rollins College, Kimberly Brown and Sandy Sosa of Tupperware Brands along with two Graduate Assistant of Global Links Program, Michelle Hernandez and Yasmin Mesbah. It is only because of their grand and meaningful welcome I started feeling ‘home away from home.’


The next day, Sunday, was a relaxing day for me with a brief and enjoyable tour of Winter Park in the afternoon with Liz Cvercko, another Graduate Assistant.




My official work started on Monday with a brief introduction to Rollins’ staff, faculty, and senior management and student community. I started enjoying every aspect of my work as I received an enthusiastic greeting from each and every person.  It seems to me that the whole college is actively involved in the GL program. I participated in many social innovation group-building activities organized by Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub, and enjoyed developing entrepreneurial insights based on the views of the younger generation. While delivering a lecture on Indian Entrepreneurship in an undergraduate Global Development class, I enjoyed a focused interaction with the student community where they showed their inquisitiveness on the issue, as well as shared their open-minded insights.



As the days passed, by I felt more and more confident to empower a young generation and make them socially responsible to serve the community as a whole. Slowly and steadily, I am developing a sense of aplomb, which will help to face the challenges of empowering depressed and deprived women sector of India.  The opportunity to participate in a program like Global Links will also provide me a platform where I can help my students to work with real life entrepreneurs and expand their horizons to rural and semi-urban areas. They will learn to empathize with women among underprivileged communities and in turn help themselves. This exercise will help them to learn of different opportunities and difficulties faced by real life entrepreneurs and how to handle those situations.

Thoughts about Sullivan Retreat by Ali Zai

Even though it has been more than two months after my participation in the Sullivan retreat I still can feel the difference that this experience made both in my personal and professional life. The Sullivan retreat was not only for business students or for psychology students, it was for any student who wanted to change the world and make it a better place.  It was obvious that the intention of the Sullivan retreat facilitators was to create activities that would work for all of the different perspectives that attendees had and it worked out amazingly. This was very encouraging since the skills learned can be applied to my future endeavors.

Moreover, my participation in the Sullivan retreat has made me more proactive. For instance, once I went back to Orlando, I started to ask/meet people who made it through and ask for their guidance and assistance. I started to make arrangements to attend free conferences on campus to meet like-minded people (which is a key for any success story). I started to look for opportunities around me and pursue them vigorously. After my participation at the retreat, I realized that opportunities can be found almost anywhere. This belief made me much more optimistic. I did not have this encouragement and confidence before my participation on the retreat and I’m thankful I was chosen for this great experience.

Also, program advisors empathized how important it is to have hands-on experience and be self-educated about the profession we want to seek. I have always believed in self-education more than formal education. However, the conversations I had with the attendees made me realize that both self and formal education are key in any self-development and both should be given high priority.  Formal education can guide us and make us discover what our passion is when we take different classes at college in the first two years. After two years, self-education should be given more priority since we have an idea about what we want in our life.

Overall, the experience was unique. This was my first-time participating in a retreat and it will not be the last time. I believe that the Sullivan retreat helps students and educators discover their interest and build on it. It also helps those who are trying to find themselves since a lot of ideas and opinions are exchanged during the event.


This year’s Sullivan Ignite Retreat is in North Carolina April 4th-7th!

Meeting the US Minister Counselor for Public Affairs In Calcutta

By Sayan Ghosh, Global Links changemaker


Chief Public Affairs Officer, Mr. Jeff Sexton, visited the green campus of University of Calcutta in Alipore on February 11th, 2017 to meet the Global Links changemakers of Kolkata. It was a pleasant experience for the volunteers to share their practical experience regarding women empowerment and also listen to positive advice from Mr.Sexton. The visit started with a brief introduction about the Global Links program and Mr. Sexton by Assistant Public Affairs officer, Mr. Greg Pardo. The mission statement of the program was then detailed by the Global Links scholar, Dr. Sharmistha Banerjee.


Mr. Sexton, who has travelled to different underdeveloped and developing countries, stressed the importance of women empowerment and how effectively this may contribute to a country’s GDP. Each of the volunteers shared their experiences with their client during Phase 1 and 2 of the program. Mr. Sexton praised the volunteers for their good work, especially their work convincing the business women’s family members to follow suggestions on business development, advocacy on social and environmental issues, and women empowerment. He also congratulated the volunteers for having been selected for Phase 3, in which they will go to Rollins College for two weeks for an immersion program on Social Entrepreneurship.

It was enriching session for the entire Global Links team, and I personally thank the US Consulate for arranging this meeting. Personally, it was a moment of disbelief to think such a high-ranking US state government official would interact with us in such an informal manner in our own environment. When we go to the American Centre, we are slightly constrained, but in our own University campus, we felt so much at home with Mr.  Pardo and Mr. Sexton!!