Global Links Changemakers Meet the Minister Counselor for Public Affairs for US Embassy in India

 

By Kalapi Dutta, Global Links Changemaker 

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Yet again, as Global Links Changemakers, we witnessed an incredible experience. This time we had the opportunity to meet the Minister Counselor for Public Affairs for the US Embassy in India, Mr. Jeff Sexton, who gave his time to learn about our Global Links program.

After a brief intro with Dr. Banerjee, he eagerly listened to the five of us about our works and how we benefited our clients. Amazed by the impact of Global Links on the students, their clients, and the society, he wished Global Links to prosper, and we hope more programs like Global Links will exist.

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As changemakers, our greatest focus is on creating sustainability steps for the businesses we are working on, and Mr. Sexton emphasized this issue, too.

On a parting note, he suggested we return India after our trip to Florida with our bags full of experiences and adventures, because our experiences in Florida will be absolutely new to us.

And just 21 days left until we land in Orlando (yes, we are actually counting days!), and excitement is at its peak.  I am literally at a loss of words. How do I feel?  The stir of emotions cannot  be put int a single adjective. I hope to feel the rush of excitement at every single activity that I indulge in during the visit. For everything that is in store for us, I know that the inner me will jump high with excitement every time we will be exposed to something new- from the education to the lifestyle to the culture to the food to the leisure activities. I hope to load my bags full of knowledge and experiences which I wish to let out once again when I return to India.

The Sustainable Impact of the Sullivan Retreat

By Ali Zaid, Rollins College Business Management and Economics student 

Even though it has been more than two months since I attended the Sullivan Ignite Retreat, I still feel the impact this experience has made on both my personal and professional life. The Sullivan Retreat was not only for business students or psychology students, it was for any students who want to change the world and make it a better place.   The Retreat facilitators created activities that worked for attendees of all different perspectives, and the way the activities proceeded was amazing to witness.  I think this experience was encouraging, since the tools learned from the activities can be applied to any situation, making them very beneficial.

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My participation in the Sullivan Retreat made me more proactive. For instance, once I returned to Orlando, I started to meet people who had previously attended the retreat, and ask for their guidance. I made arrangements to attend conferences on campus to meet like-minded people, a key part of any success story, and I began to look for opportunities around me to actively pursue.  After my participation in the retreat, I realized that opportunities can be made, as well as found, which made me think twice about complained when things didn’t go the way I planned.  I did not have this encouragement and confidence before my participation in the Sullivan Retreat, and I’m thankful I was chosen for this great experience.

Facilitators at the retreat emphasized the importance of having hands-on experience and to be self-educated about the profession we want to pursue.  I have always believed that self-education is more important than formal education. However, the conversations I had with attendees at the retreat 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 help us discover our passions by taking a variety of classes during college.  After the two years, self-education should be given more priority since we have more of an idea of our goals in life.

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All in all, the experience at the Sullivan Ignite Retreat was unique. This was my first-time participating in a retreat, and it will not be the last. I believe attending more of these amazing retreats help students and educators discover their interests and build upon them. It also helps those who are on self-development journeys by the exchanging of opinions and ideas.

 

 

Global Links Final Report- Business Development, Advocacy on Social/Environmental issues, and Women’s empowerment

By Anisha Pandey

Global Links Volunteer

Kolkata, India

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The topic on “Women Empowerment” is a burning issue all over the world. The Global Links program is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, Rollins College, and Tupperware. The Global Links program and its scholars contribute to upholding the overall Rollins mission to develop global citizens through education and community building.

By giving women the opportunity of education and knowledge of entrepreneurship, Global Links program is helping them to be more confident, independent and receptive in communities – and in society as a whole.

As a part of this programme several students were selected as volunteers out of whom 13 students at present have been assigned one female entrepreneur each. In this way, I was assigned Mrs. Momena Khatun as my client. She has a cycle handle grip manufacturing business. During the entire journey, several workshops and field visits were held and we were supposed to focus on three deliverables namely, Business development, Advocacy on social/environmental issues and Women’s empowerment.

Client’s business

My client’s name is Momena Khatun, and her business is manufacturing cycle handle grips.  The business has been going on for eight years.  Initially, she was not very involved but through the years she grew to play a vital role in decision making.  The business started in a rented place that costed approximately 50,000 rupees to 55,000 rupees per month.  Over time they saw this as not efficient and decided to have their own factory and machines.  The proverb of no risk no gain certainly suits my client.  They took a loan from Bandhan bank but even this was not enough so they sold their two flats and self-invested.

Process

Procuring raw material- Raw materials namely waste of PVC sole and saline pipes are procured from a place named ‘42 bus stand karkhana’.

Mixing color and melting- Then color is added with the procured material and melted in a melting machine.

Cooling- The melted output is then cooled.

Processing- The cooled material is then poured into the main machine where the cooled and melted plastic is given the shape of cycle handle grips with the help of dice.

Packaging- The final product is then packed for delivery. The product is sold on Benton street.

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Business problem’s

  1. Pending construction of factory
  2. IT return filing
  3. Less involvement of client in the business
  4. Lack of green and clean environment

Outputs achieved

  1. Business Development
  • Helping in filing income tax return- Though carrying on a profitable and successful business, my client Momena Khatun did not have any proper legal documents. After interacting with several people I found Md. Ejaz as the right person to help my client get proper documentation. He is currently working on the preparatory steps after meeting my client.
  • Trade license- Apart from income tax return filing, I have provided my client with the steps for applying for trade license as well. She will apply for trade license as soon as the work for income tax is over. This is my goal for the next few months.
  • Scientific accounting- They did not follow a scientific accounting practice. So, I have designed a format of cost sheet and taught her basic accounting concepts which will help her in maintaining systematized books of accounts.
  • Completion of the pending construction- With the help of the recent loan from Bandhan Bank it was our decision to first utilize the money in completing the pending construction of the workplace or the rains could cause serious damage to the machines. Accordingly, the workplace has been constructed with proper stairs and glass walls and several rooms which earlier were just a big space with no proper construction.
  • Increase in number of machines- Also, the number of machines has increased from three to four which has certainly increased their production and profit, thereby increasing the wages of laborers as well ( as piece rate payment of wages prevails)

Women Empowerment

  • Business Supervision- At first, the business was totally handled by her husband but now I have been able to involve my client into the business. Earlier her husband did every bit of work beginning from procurement of raw materials to delivery but now my client Mrs. Momena has been supervising the work. Every day after her household work she supervises the factory workers which reduces her husband’s workload as well. I explained to her the beauty of balancing home life with work life and practical steps in time management.
  • Decision making –She now actively takes part in decision making along with her husband. They work like a team now.
  • Building self-esteem and confidence- Involvement in the business increased her self-confidence. Also, she is keen to know the technological world and I am introducing her to the social media. She is now an active user of Facebook and Whatsapp.womenempowermentanisha
  • Connection with NGO- I introduced her to Md. Ejaz, a member of the ‘HUM’ NGO who is not only helping her with the registration procedure of Income tax return but also he and his NGO is looking forward to developing her business communication skills and giving her ideas for innovation and progress.

 

Social and environmental issues

Keeping the factory clean- Their idea of using waste PVC sole and saline pipes was certainly an appreciable step towards solving the social and environmental issues, but one problem was that they did not have a single dustbin in the factory. Everything was thrown here or there. I have managed to keep dustbins in the factory which has led to cleaner and healthier factory environment. I have also explained to my client, her children, friends, and neighbors the importance of having a clean and hygienic environment.

Conclusion

“I alone cannot change the world but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples”

-Mother Teresa

I am really thankful to the organizers of the Global Links programme for giving me such a golden opportunity. The valuable suggestions and the workshops have been a great source of motivation and inspiration all throughout. The memories of exploring Kolkata with Michelle and Dr. Conway, the party on the cruise and the entire Global Links journey will be cherished till eternity. I would like to thank each and every person associated with this programme beginning with Professor Sharmistha Banerjee who demonstrated the true meaning of being a teacher. She taught me that a teacher is not only one who educates and instructs, but who cares, encourages and inspires. I hope one day I can have the same characteristics as Prof. Banerjee and be as devoted to my career as she is to hers. Her compassionate and kind actions reveal her to be a true humanitarian. The way she manages all her work within a short span of time inspires me.

Dr. Conway inculcated in me the spirit of being happy in any situation. Her sense of humor and the way she handles all her work is a big lesson for me. She never behaved like a strict teacher rather she was a friendly guide and a friend who understood me better than myself.

Michelle taught me to be extroverted and adjust in any situation. She never behaved as if she came to India for the first time. She was eager to know things and adapted herself easily to this environment.

Abira ma’am and Anusri ma’am inculcated in me the sense of responsibility. They motivated me, throughout and the way they managed the entire programme is highly appreciable.

I want to thank all the volunteers for their help, support, and cooperation in making this program a success.

And last but not the least I would like to thank my mother who has always been an example of a strong woman. My mother was able to change our family’s orthodox thinking all by herself. Educating daughters, giving them an opportunity to work before and after marriage and eradicating child marriage were the main issues which she wanted to solve. She is still an inspiration for many in our neighborhoods. People are proud of my mother but I want to make her proud as well. This programme has certainly helped me in doing so. The memorable moment was when my parents got a tea invitation from the U.S Consulate General and also when my mother stood up amongst many during the Tupperware programme to give her idea of change in the society not only brought a big, proud smile on my face but also gave me a sense of accomplishment.

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Rollins College and Google igniteCS Project

 

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Rollins College student and Bonner Leader Sam Sadeh is helping to promote computer science in local schools and communities with the help of a grant from Google.  IgniteCS, an initiative that Google started three years ago, allows student-led groups to pitch a project that will implement computer science into communities.  The student groups ask Google for funding and support to bring that project into fruition.

Dr. Dan Myers received a promotional call from Google in August about igniteCS, and advised Sam to put together a project to pitch to Google.  Sam has connections at Fern Creek, a Title I, high-need elementary school, so he designed a program and proposal, sending it to Google in September, with Dr. Myers as his advisor.  Funding only about 30-40 projects in the past 3 years alone, Google decided to award a grand for Sam’s project.

Sam, along with Rollins student volunteers, will be visiting Fern Creek once a week beginning this semester for hour and a half long sessions with the 4th grade class.  They will be teaching students computer science topic using ‘Scratch’ programming and language.  ‘Scratch’ was developed at MIT to be an educational programming environment, teaching students to take graphical components and put them together, making it easy to create animations.  The child-friendly software allows the students to write stories that have animations or create their own stories.  Sam designed this project around a creative aspect, hoping it will demystify computers for the elementary students.

This is the first time Rollins has done such a program.  This spring, Sam and Dr. Myers will be able to find out what is going to work and what’s not going to work, learning alongside the elementary students they mentor.  Their hope is that this will be a sustainable program at Rollins for future students to collaborate with Google and implement computer science into the local community—a hope that Google shares, provided that Rollins continues to meet eligibility.  IgniteCS requires a minimum of 5 participating college students, with at least one upperclassman and one lowerclassman as student leaders.

Sam was assisted in writing and leading this proposal by Julie Anna Contino, Alexandra DeLucia, Grace Soto, and Hannah Holman.  Sam’s project is still open to a few more Rollins students who want to volunteer.  Anyone can get involved—a computer science major is not necessary.  Rollins students who are involved have virtual access to Google engineers as advisors, resume workshops, practice interviews, and guest speakers.  This is a unique and fulfilling opportunity for Rollins, and a remarkable experience for Rollins students to participate.  Continue to follow us as we share Sam and his team’s journey with igniteCS.

Email changemaker@rollins.edu for more information.

A Letter to the Global Links Program

By Kalapi Dutta, Global Links Changemaker 

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In this technological era of the 21st century, I would like to write a letter the old-school way, even as Whatsapp and Messenger overrule, to something which I hold dear to my heart.

Dear Global Links,

Will it be improper to say that I was waiting for you all this while?  It might sound cheesy but it is true.

It’s been just a year that I have known you, and though I won’t say that it was the best year of my life—because the best is yet to come—it was nonetheless perfect. You have become a part of me. You are the best of me.

You taught me that it is okay if my client did not trust me at first, and was reluctant to disclose her business finances. You taught me that it is okay to be rejected at times when various retailers found me absurd. And amidst all this, you taught me that it is okay to accept the situations where nothing goes according to plan.  You gave me role models who helped me in every possible way throughout the journey. How I wish you knew how unconditionally grateful I am.  Above all, I respect you.

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A business overview of Kalapi’s client who owns a sari manufacturing business

I must mention that you have flooded me with many first time experiences. The first time I took the stage to present my business.  The first time to receive a letter from the CEO of Tupperware Brands. The first time to receive an invitation from the US Consul General to attend a tea party with our parents.  The list is never-ending.

Did I forget to mention something about ‘Orlando’?  Oh yes, I did.

Oh dear, you are helping me check off my bucket list!

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Global Links students meeting the US Ambassador to India

With you, I wish to be my most altruistic self, for I want to share you with others. I wish your existence to be known worldwide. I hope you touch the lives of many more, for good things are meant to be explored.

For me, you are my ultimate satisfaction, the best decision I have ever made, the perfect realization that I could do more for my society than just be a contributor to the nation’s GDP!

So yes, I literally want to be with you always and forever because, well, ours is still a better love story than Twilight! And with that I hope to make you even prouder.

From,

A Satisfied Soul

Thoughts from the Rollins College Hult Prize Competition Winning Team ‘SkilledConnex’

By Sonja Boos, Robert Mayper, and Nadia Abdi–members of the Rollins College Hult Prize competition winning team, SkilledConnex. Their winning idea focuses on the creation of a database that collects information about refugees, giving the refugees opportunities to develop skills, gain an education, and complete online job training. SkilledConnex will be presenting their idea in the Regional Hult Prize competition in March 2017 in San Francisco.

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Ciara Nowak, the campus director for the Rollins Hult Prize competition, stressed to us when starting our journey that we should try our best to have fun with our project—and we certainly have. In light of recent stressful times, this experience with the Hult Prize competition has been a shining force of positivity in our team’s lives that we turn to for motivation in all things that we do. Our team proved that we could accomplish the task of winning the competition and now it is time for us to rise and push our idea forward. We fully realize our individual talents and have tapped into our true potentials through this opportunity.

Every moment that passes in front of our eyes provides an opportunity to access any untapped potential. For us, we strived to tap that potential not only in this competition but in our everyday lives. One of our members participated in an independent research study interviewing refugees in Germany. Another member of our team devotes nearly all her spare time to helping immigrant families in our Orlando community integrate and create a new life here. With our team’s diverse background, we have aimed to help those in need, and this competition was a natural extension of that.

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Realistically, this is just the beginning of a great journey that allows us to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable people. Having the support and being able to make our world a better place for us all is what gives us joy and excitement in life. It is true, “the best way to uplift our lives is to do all we can to uplift the lives of others,” and this is what the Hult Prize Competition has done for us.

This experience with the Hult Prize has been amazing; the opportunity is unique, and the first outcomes of our efforts are all the more encouraging. We know that we have planted the seeds for a global enterprise and to us that is amazing. Even with such a huge project we are aware and are confident that we have the idea and tools to make the dreams of millions of refugees become a reality. We are a group coming from different cultural backgrounds with colorful life experiences, and we bring a high-quality international business network and seven different languages into our project.  Having traveled across the globe to get here, we know that dignity is something that comes together from being able to learn, grow, and work.

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Without any doubt, our business model titled SkilledConnex is the result of our passions, visions, and life situations. We could not have come this far without the support from the Rollins community, the Holt School, the Hult Prize organizers, the judges, and our families and friends. Our thanks go to Ciara Novak, Mary Conway Dato-on, Natasha Gaye, Steph Murphy, Liz Cvercko, and the judges, Julie Colombino, Vinny Tafuro, Steven Campisi, Dayle Moore, and John Kluwin, for helping us in this journey.

The Hult Prize competition has been truly life changing. Not only because we have had the amazing opportunity to write this post, but also because of the education we have received about the greater issue at hand; this issue being the growing number of displaced individuals due to the conflict in foreign nations, and figuring out what we can do to help. Our team saw some amazing ideas when we presented ours a few weeks ago, and were stunned to see all these talented young individuals who are willing to get involved. The groups we competed against inspire us to push forward with our idea and try to create the best business model possible going into the next phase of the competition.

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We would also like to bring special attention to The Holt School here at Rollins College as all of our team members are enrolled in the program. We wanted to prove that Holt students can perform at the highest levels and have been grateful to represent them. We spent many late nights working on our project, knowing that we had the night program behind us every step of the way. Those that are a part of the evening program push us to do our best and are a huge motivator for the team. Our friends and classmates inspire us to be better people every day, and we would love to see more of them participate in opportunities like the Hult Prize

One last message to those reading. Even if the problems before you seem insurmountable, keep trying to address them. Sometimes one idea is not enough to solve the problem, but that idea can be the force that guides you to what you are truly looking for. Don’t be afraid to try.

US Ambassador to India Visits with Global Links Students

On December 13, 2016, the US Ambassador to India, Richard R. Verma, visited with students from the Global Links Program in Kolkata, India. This article was released the next day in ‘Ei Samay’ newspaper. Translation provided by Shirsita Banerjee and Kalapi Dutta, Global Links Changemakers.

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“Starting from scratch is the key to success,” says Richard Verma, U.S. Ambassador to India in an interactive session with students.

“You don’t need to be over-ambitious or create extra stress. Take some keen interest within your own circle like your family and your community, and that will be the first step towards leadership, “advised US Ambassador to India Richard R. Verma on Tuesday evening to the participants of Career Readiness Camp and Global Links Program at the American Centre in Kolkata. Mr. Verma also listened to the success stories of the students from these two groups.

In March 2017, the five members of the Global Links Program will visit Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida for a two-week training program. The students of the Global Links Program just completed an eight-month exchange of business ideas and mentoring with women business owners who hold loans from Bandhan Bank.

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One among them, Surabhi Mishra, a Masters of Commerce student from Calcutta University, initially observed that the woman who had taken a loan for her T-shirt manufacturing business had no role in the business activities. Her husband and son took charge of the business. In those eight months, Surabhi taught the woman English and changed her mind set to be more active in her business.

Another member of Global Links, Kalapi Dutta, believes that any start-up needs a social cause. Swayan Ghosh, an MBM student of Calcutta University, suggested women should be well acquainted with online marketing strategy in order to see growth in any industry.

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On the other hand, the 5 members of the Career Readiness Camp exclaimed that they had developed self-confidence and learned about different ways to create women empowerment through a three-week workshop. One of them, Sufia Jahan, an English Honors student from Lady Braborne College, shared that this camp helped her to take a leap forward in starting her professional life. Another girl from the Zoology department of Bidhannagar College, Upali Ghosh, declares that she made a lot of new friends from the camp. Steps should be taken to empower the transgenders, proposed Riya Dutta, a Bengali Honors student from Asutosh College.

With the initiative of the American Centre and an NGO, an examination was conducted for 12th grade students in twenty Bengali medium Government girls’ schools across the city for the Career Readiness Camp. Among the 1400 examinees 97 girls were selected. They attended workshops on spoken English, leadership traits and women empowerment conducted by experts from India, as well as abroad. The workshop was comprised of group projects, poster presentations, a library session at the American Centre, a scavenger hunt, and a gallery walk. Celebration of Earth Day and workshops for drama and film were also included in the program.

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Global Links Program – An Initiative for Women Empowerment

By Rumpa Chakraborty, Global Links Scholar, Kolkata, India

–Dr. Chakraborty will be visiting Rollins College in January 2017 to begin the first phase of the Global Links Program as the new scholar–

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Women empowerment refers to the creation of an environment for women to have opportunities for education and economic stability.  In doing so, women can make their own decisions for their personal benefit as well as for their families. As a woman, I realized that economic empowerment is necessary to equip women to be independent and reliant, developing positive esteem so they may face any difficult situation.   Economically empowered women will be able to participate in the process of decision making within society. I am confident such women are capable of making better decisions about the health and education of their children, as well. Moreover, economic empowerment of women is a prerequisite for sustainable development and growth of any developing country like India. Employment opportunities should be improved to reduce the barriers faced by Indian women. Economic empowerment increases women’s access to economic resources and opportunities including jobs, financial services, skill development, and market information.

Global links Program is a program that encourages women to be empowered through education and opportunity. The most important goal of the program is to build a synergy between economic empowerment of women and entrepreneurship. This cross cultural program will be an immense help to Indian women entrepreneurs to become leaders in business as well as throughout society. Being a part of this program, I am honored to represent my country. I feel proud to have this opportunity to work for future generation Indian women entrepreneurs.  I believe this program will enrich my knowledge so I can use my skills and abilities to promote more women in society to become the strength of our community in India.

Applying Lessons Learned from the Sullivan Retreat

By Matias Meirelles van Vliet, Rollins College student 

Have I been truly changed by the Sullivan Foundation Ignite Retreat? I’ve asked myself that a few times since I returned to Rollins, and the answer is easy: yes. My previous blog stated that I’ve been changed by the retreat, but another valuable question is, ‘to what extent have I been changed?’ As the semester draws to a close, I am completely focused on finals and completing school projects, neglecting my long term goals.  Someone looking from the outside might say I am exactly the same as I was before the retreat, and there is a reason for that—all my changes were internal; subtle but deep.

One of the important changes that happened as a result of the retreat was an increase in my moments of reflection.  During the retreat, after most activities, we had 20 minutes for ourselves, which most of us used to reflect on the work we had just completed. I brought this habit to my academic life, and now every night before I sleep I take some time to reflect on what I learned from my classes that day.

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Another subtle change is that the retreat made me remember my first efforts as a volunteer. One of the entrepreneurs who spoke at the Event, Mama Shu, shared her story of creating a village in the middle of Detroit where kids can be safe after school and learn about the African part of American culture.  This made me remember my days as a kid at OCA – Associação da Aldeia de Carapicuíba. OCA is a non-profit that takes kids off the street and teaches them about Brazilian culture. A huge part of Brazilian culture was acquired from Africa, and in the video from the ribbon-cutting ceremony of Jakobi Ra Park in Detroit, there was a musical presentation that reminded me of my volunteer experiences. Volunteering at OCA was a huge part of my adolescence that I had left forgotten in the past, but now I wish to return to volunteering and make something for the community I live in.

The retreat also influenced me to seek more connections. I had already planned to pursue a career in the sports management business, but I didn’t know anyone that was in this niche of the market. Now I have forged some important connections in this field that I plan on dedicating myself to after graduation. I met a few college athletes at the retreat, but even more importantly, I have met more people through them. Many fellow attendees of the retreat realized my effort and put me in contact with someone they knew in this field.

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One of the facilitators, David, was introduced me to an established entrepreneur in the sports management field. David’s friend, Wynn, owns a sports management and marketing business that is also involved in social causes. The professional athletes he manages regularly give generous donations to non-profits. He works in San Francisco, a long way from Florida, but I’ve called him a few times, and I consider it extremely important to have a connection like this.  I feel extremely comfortable to call him anytime if I have a question about the field of sports management.

Another connection I made through the camp was Andrey from Ukraine.  He also works with sports and social causes, and he works on a project with a church to educate children in social issues and sports. Even though I am not a religious person, I’ve talked with him a few times, and he gave me some important feedback on my current ideas.

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When I started this blog post, I felt like I hadn’t accomplished much, but I now feel as though I have made significant progress towards my long-term goal of opening my own business.  I believe Rollins could provide a better atmosphere for entrepreneurs, but part of my goal is to improve that, after my experiences at the Sullivan retreat. I have already started planning to participate in an entrepreneurship event next semester, the Ideas for Good Challenge.  When I returned from the retreat, ready to put my ideas into action, other obligations began to take over, and I felt as though the changemaking environment of the retreat had gone.  I believe Rollins should offer an environment to stimulate changemaking on a daily basis, and I am currently helping to make this happen.

Considering my project is long-term, I have accomplished a lot: I started talking to people about it, including two experts in the field, and I will present it next week as my fictitious project in my Business Law class.  There’s still a long way to go, but at least I’ve taken the first few steps.

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.

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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.

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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.