Social Entrepreneurship is the new black.

Valerie Camille

Earlier this year I was invited to sit at Crummer’s table during the Runway to Haiti event (most likely for being a Haitian citizen myself). I had never heard of the term Social Entrepreneurship until then, and walking out of the event I still didn’t know what it meant until recently.

A couple of months ago, I found the opportunity to work alongside some of Orlando’s best and brightest social entrepreneurs.

How, you may ask?

Well, I am currently working as a Graduate Assistant for Dr. Conway Dato-On on putting together, and launching the Central Florida Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator (http://cflsea.com) .

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This Accelerator’s mission is to “create positive social change by propelling qualified social entrepreneurs to build their ideas into self-sustainable ventures within our community.”

What is so amazing about this experience is the customized and tailored guidance provided to each participant. The entrepreneurs will be able to work one on one with mentors, and get personalized feedback on a multitude of topics and issues (accounting, marketing, legal…)  At the end of the program, each will deliver a pitch to investors, and the winner will receive a minimum investment of $25,000.

We will start working with the first cohort of social entrepreneurs early September, and I cannot wait! I am looking forward to interacting, and working with individuals who are so passionate about solving social issues, and are willing to go out of their way to create a business that provides solutions to these problems.

I have read stories about social entrepreneurs who travel the globe to face those social issues, leave the comfort of their daily lives, and are not afraid to get their hands dirty to fight against poverty, hunger, analphabetism, to fight for education, and women rights. These inspiring social entrepreneurs dedicate their lives for the betterment of others’.

During my time interacting with Dr. Conway Dato-on, Ben Hoyer from Downtown Credo, and Shawn Seipler from Clean the world (among others) I have had a lot of “ah-ha” moments and was fortunate enough discover my true passion, and what I really “want to do when I grow up.”

As I mentioned before, I was born and raised in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, and I cannot think of a better place to pick one of the many social issues we are facing, and attempt to create a movement for social change. I am fortunate enough to be evolving in such a nurturing and enriching environment. I shared my ideas with a couple of the connections I have made, and was rapidly referred to others in the community who could help me and guide me in the right direction.

Most trends come and go, they get hyped and then slowly fade away. Social entrepreneurship is getting a lot of buzz, but there are way too many things to be done in the world for it go anywhere anytime soon. Keep an eye out for those new social entrepreneurs, they are changing the world one issues a time. These are the cool kids, and they are here to stay!

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Kalapi Dutta’s Global Links Journey

Kalapi Dutta; Global Links Changemaker –

If I were to chronicle my 2 weeks stay at Florida, then: Day-1, from landing at MCO till crashing to bed that very night would be a vague recollection of moments where the only part I can remember is me having a broad smile across my face the entire day. Well, the best memories are statistically proven to be the ones you can’t remember.

That’s the kind of high one can get out of excitement. Had it not been for the photos and the digitized tokens from that day which I watched later, I wouldn’t have had a recollection of a single thing that happened in those few hours. That’s how I would like to describe my Global Links Phase – III – euphoric.

We were warned beforehand of jetlag but I guess the term jetlag seemed like a myth for I never felt any more energized than how I did on my first day at Orlando. That’s how I would like to describe my Global Links Phase-III – exhilarating.

All the exposure that we got has been an absolute learning experience. Community to culture to classroom; everything was different and it’s exciting to learn something different, something new.

People say you get culture shock when you travel to a different country. I say I got culture surprises.

In India, even just smiling at strangers on the road would be the last thing I would ever do; while in the US, you are always greeted with smiling faces anytime and every time of the day. A smiling face is often followed by ‘Have a nice day’ and the number of times you hear that in a day, you actually have a nice day.

As a student the classroom culture has impacted me the most. The classroom environment is more of learning and sharing. In those two weeks we got the chance to attend classes of both undergraduate courses and MBA courses at Rollins College and for each of these classes students are provided with new topics on any global issue for which they are supposed to work in groups and prepare short notes or report on that given topic in the class. Even though we were visiting students, we could actively participate in those classes given the fact that we were also given the study materials just like the other students, in the class or the day before the class. It’s not just the students who prepare for their classes but the teachers also prepare presentations for each of their classes. There are a lot of group activities in class; group activities in its truest sense where students actually contribute in a group. They even conduct team meetings before any such class and post-class the students individually send feedback to the professors about that particular activity.

Being an undergrad student, the hint of achievement that still excites me is that I got to attend classes of the MBA program, classes like International Marketing and Leadership. The interesting part is that we had an opportunity to give presentations on our Indian market at a US classroom!

Apart from attending classes, we participated in various events at Rollins College like the Rethinking Fashion event which was a fashion show where we were to wear sustainable clothes. We took part in a competition called Ideas for Good where we had to pitch our own business ideas having a social good. We had a day for community service where we worked at the grocery department of an organization called United Against Poverty where we arranged shelves, worked at the counter and helped the customers.  All these were learning experiences.

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Visiting Tupperware Brands World Headquarters will always be a memorable day. While we thought we had to put up our best formal behavior, arriving there we forgot everything for we had such a welcoming reception and everyone seemed so excited and everyone wanted to listen to our stories. We got to meet the CEO who spared his time for us! It was a remarkable fun filled day.

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In a foreign country we got a home away from home and a family who accepted us in a way where we could never tell that even a month ago we were strangers to them. Staying with host families exposed us to the American culture. In those two weeks our lifestyle changed completely or I could say that we adapted to the American style of living.

Lastly, everyone we met and talked to had something to share with us. Some shared with us knowledge, some shared inspirational life stories, some inspired us with their positive words while someone’s presence was enough to spread positive vibes, again some always tried to bring out the best in us. Some were always one step ahead to help us in any way possible while some helped us enjoy our free times. Some we loved seeing everyday while others we missed seeing daily. Those two weeks would not have been so special if not for the people whom we had met there and who created an impact on us.

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In one of my previous blog posts I had written “Will it be inappropriate to say that I was waiting for you (Global Links) all this while?” and if I were to sum up my entire Global Links journey I could rightfully say that I still remember the days I wished for what I have now.

To our next batch of Global Links Volunteers:

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Something that I can assure you is that by the end of your Phase – II, you will start using pronouns in the first person plural instead of first person singular. That’s what Global Links has taught us and will eventually teach you – “it is not about me, it is always about us.”

While you embark on your journey with Global Links, with the amazing opportunities that you are about to get, a little piece of senior insight- some of the best days are about to come.

You are here  to work for the community. Even though you will help develop the community, it will help in your development. Global Links is a give and take process and even before you realize it you will find a remarkable growth in yourself.

I won’t say that everything is easy out there and raise your hopes because nothing great is all smooth. A success story without hurdles is like Harry Potter movies without Voldemort. It just doesn’t feel right. So yeah, there will be challenges while working with your client, some things might not go as planned, you might have to cope with the deadlines and your academics alongside but trust me what you are about to get out of it is more than you could ever imagine.

I won’t give out much details about Phase – II because now it’s your journey and you’ve got to explore it. Telling everything before hand ruins the excitement of the situation and I don’t want to play the spoilsport because I want you to discover what Global Links has in store for you while you move ahead. You can thank me later!

Nevertheless you will find a mentor in us and you have your scholar who will guide you throughout and you will meet some other people too who will help you in your Global Links journey.

Remember, Global Links isn’t a competition and Phase – III isn’t a trophy. All you 2017-18 volunteers, you are in it together. Global Links isn’t for one, it’s for all. Its success lies in all working as one. It took a lot of hearts and efforts and passion and dedication to make Global Links into what it is today. Now it’s you who will be carrying this great responsibility. So go, make yourself proud!

 

Sreedipta’s Global Links Journey

One of our Global Links changemakers, Sreedipta Dhar Choudhury, has written an essay about her journey with Global Links and her experiences during Phase II and III of the Program.  Her Phase II experience is recounted here.

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The seed of the Global Links Programme was implanted into my wide horizon of understanding and ingrained in my mind by Dr. Sharmistha Banerjee, an erudite person. My knowledge of the Programme began in Monday morning seminar and over time it blossomed into a fruit bearing tree of knowledge, contributed by the wisdom of revered Dr. Banerjee. I was empowered with mental strength from my mentor. The faculty of thought bloomed in my mind by the unwavering support extended to me by Rakhi Di, the social entrepreneur I had the privilege of working with. She opened different avenues of thinking to me and the process was unparalleled and reciprocal.

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While in Calcutta, I was blessed by the support of the Global Links Family who actively helped to heighten my imagination and translate the concept into a reality as per my capability could go. It was an endless inspiration for me to move ahead in concept building and transform the acquired knowledge in the world of reality.

The Global Links Programme has exposed me to incredibly insightful changemakers and widened my concept of social entrepreneurship. It has inspired me to create a thriving global network of changemaker campuses and to solve global challenges through effective changemaking.” While working on the lines of social entrepreneurship, my talented and inspiring Global Links Team and I learned about the 4 important E’s which are:

  • Entrprenuership
  • Empathy
  • Encouragement
  • Empowerment

My first opening as joint entrepreneur created in my mind the essence of togetherness to develop business on a stable foundation while working with my assigned entrepreneur, Rakhi Di. Challenges were immense when it came to marketing her business’ plush toys, graphic designing, maintaining proper financial records, and managing waste scrap.

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Despite the difficulties, my Global Links Team inspired and taught me to not discard our highest ideals during difficult times but to rise up to meet them, to rise up to perfect our union. We rise up to defend our blessings of liberty, to embody the values of equality, opportunity and sacrifice. There were times when it was extremely difficult to get a breakthrough into the retail market and only after doing several rounds of the marketplace we got our desired results. These experiences taught me the value and importance of team work and perseverance.

I also had many incredibly satisfying achievements and experiences through Global Links. Imparting knowledge of financial statements and teaching my client to keep records all by herself was extremely rewarding. Another achievement for the Global Links team was getting married woman back to work after counselling them and their in-laws. One of the most satisfying experiences from Global Links was receiving invitations for tea at the US Consulate along with our families and meeting the Consul General who knew each of us by our names and our work.

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It was finally the 26th of October and all the hard work paid off. I was selected along with 4 of my fellow Global Links Changemakers for the immersion programme at Rollins College. I still remember the inexplicable feeling of my name being announced!

Sreedipta’s story about her Phase III experience will be continued in a future post.

Global Links program scholar highlighted in Span Magazine

Shaping of a Social Entrepreneur

Sharmistha Banerjee, first Global Links program scholar from India, shares how the exchange program helped strengthen her commitment toward improving women’s lives.


She was an enthusiastic girl scouts member in school. This interest in community work percolated into her philosophy in the workfield too, as Sharmistha Banerjee, professor in the Department of Business Management at the University of Calcutta, continued to work to enhance opportunities for women in small enterprises. Banerjee is the first scholar from India to participate in the Global Links women entrepreneurship exchange program. This gave a further boost to her interests and commitments.

Founded in 2011, the Global Links program is a collaborative effort of the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, Rollins College in Florida and Tupperware Brands. It is a three-phase program for women professors in developing and post-conflict countries to foster their social entrepreneurship knowledge and skills. (Full article)

Anisha’s Story

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Anisha is a Global Links student who felt inspired to continue pursuing the Global Links mission despite not being chosen to complete Phase III as one of the final five Changemakers.  Anisha developed her own way to persevere.

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 come to life for me in a few months’ time.

It was the month of October when 14 Global Links students had come a long way through the program, and it was time for the final selection of 5 students to complete Phase III in Orlando, Florida at Rollins College. I was among this final 14. Completing Phase II and stepping into Phase III was the only thing we wished for at that time. 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.  I felt as if I wasn’t capable of anything. Doing well in my academics alone might not be enough, and I yearned for more. This mental disturbance started affecting my preparations for the graduation final exams which were within a few months, but Professor Banerjee stood by my side. Her way of scolding us at our mistakes and also applauding us for every small achievement like a mother made me believe in myself.  Though I did not continue into Phase III, I realized 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 I came to understand its importance during my Global Links journey. The way Professor 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 and in an organized manner.

Exams were now over but what next??? Dr. Mary Conway Dato-on once said to me “Anisha, 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 to utilize my time and creativity. People started noticing my art and within a short span of time I 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 a multinational company, but I had no plans of working in one. Global Links taught us to grab all the opportunities that come our way, so why not give it a try, I thought.  Around 400 students were given a 10-day training. We were asked to prepare charts, reports and give presentations. Global Links had required us to create many reports and presentations, so while my friends panicked and found it a tough task, I found it to be an interesting activity. My presentation was praised and I was selected to be among 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 interviews.

Dressed up in formal attire, 100 aspiring candidates were waiting for the first round of interviews. It was the technical round, and I easily made 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 my 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. My experience with Global Links helped me prepare for success.

“FAILURES ARE THE STEPPING STONES TO 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.

By Kalese Justice, Rollins College Student and Innovation Hub Bonner Leader

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 from 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 keynote speakers, 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, this Exchange 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—wanting to make a change in the world. However, each person at the exchange came in with a new innovative idea and hoped 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 attend 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 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, all ethical and sustainable businesses.  Dr. Warnecke’s Global Development class shared 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 about ethical and sustainable businesses, followed by an extravagant fashion show while they enjoyed some yummy food like samosas and coconut crusted chicken!  During the poster session, attendees learned about ethical fashion, fair trade companies, and the practices of these companies.  The runaway show offered the opportunity to see ethical and sustainable clothes 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 and attendees about this.  There are so many ways for each and every one of us to be a changemaker–spending wisely is just one way this can be achieved.  The producers are changemakers as well!

 For example, one student learned about a backpack that was 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 their knowledge about 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 making changes through 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 Deux Mains.  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.  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 participating in the event.

 The Global Development students prepared the 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)