PSU Accepted as Ashoka U Changemaker Campus

September 24, 2012 at 10:48 am 2 comments

An update and big news from Impact Entrepreneurs co-founder and director, Cindy Cooper

Dear friends,

It’s a new school year, and change is in the air. One thing remains the same: Impact Entrepreneurs is committed to unleashing the power of business for social impact.

We are proud of the work we are doing with hundreds of individuals and dozens of organizations each year to develop enterprising solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. But how do we, a small entrepreneurial team of individuals and organizations, move closer to our vision of “An equitable world where all life can flourish?” We must not stop short of moving mountains.

With 30,000 students, 4200 faculty and staff, and a value system which honors making a difference, Portland State University is a force for change. We must work across PSU and with our alumni and our community to cultivate and harness the new energy and ideas that will move mountains.

Toward this end, this fall PSU has been selected to join the Ashoka U Changemaker Campus consortium: A select group of institutions of higher education that demonstrate commitment and cutting edge approaches to galvanizing solutions to major human and environmental challenges. Ashoka U is an initiative of Ashoka, a renowned global association of leading social entrepreneurs founded in 1980. In partnership with universities, Ashoka U seeks to develop educational experiences that can be world changing. Ashoka believes in an “Everyone a Changemaker” world. At PSU we are fortunate to have tens of thousands of budding Changemakers descending upon our campus each year.

This world-class partnership and lifelong distinction from Ashoka U celebrates the significant contributions PSU is already making through initiatives such as the Institute for Sustainable Solutions, Net Impact, Solutions Generator, Center for Global Leadership in Sustainability, SWEETLab, our own Impact Entrepreneurs and many others. It also puts PSU in direct contact with leading social innovation practitioners, educators, researchers and supporters around the world so that together we may create the change we seek.

Thank you to Jennifer Allen, Anndee Huff, Carolyn McKnight, Simon Ngawhika, Amelia Pape, Peggy Reid, and Evan Thomas—our brilliant Ashoka U Change Team—for their leadership in the Changemaker Campus evaluation. Thank you to the dozens of PSU representatives involved in the Ashoka U site visit and interviews, including President Wiewel. Dean Dawson from the School of Business Administration has our deep gratitude for his support throughout the process. And special thanks to Vice President of Research and Strategic Partnerships, Erin Flynn, who traveled to Washington D.C. with me for the final round of interviews.

We are honored that Portland State, in partnership with our community, is becoming a globally recognized hub for social innovation. We stop to celebrate this honor while continuing to charge ahead, for there is a lot that needs doing—from within ourselves to far across the world.

Let’s get to work, Changemakers.

—Cindy Cooper, Co-founder & Director, Impact Entrepreneurs

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