UE is First in Indiana to be Designated an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus

Posted: Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The University of Evansville has been designated as a Changemaker Campus by Ashoka U for its role as a leader in social innovation and changemaking in higher education. UE is the first Changemaker Campus in Indiana.

UE will join the Changemaker Campus Network - a dynamic, global community of students, staff, administrators, faculty and community partners who share inspiration, connections and a commitment to broaden the reach and impact of social innovation and changemaking around the world. The recognition is the outcome of a rigorous selection process. Since 2008, nearly 50 universities around the world have received this designation.

Ashoka U is an initiative of Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs and changemakers. The program recognizes colleges and universities globally that have embedded social innovation and changemaking into their culture, programming and operations and are committed to partnering in the network to make social innovation and changemaking the new norm across higher education.

“This is a tremendous affirmation of our commitment to equipping students with the skills and confidence needed to create a better future,” said Jill Griffin, executive director of the Institute for Global Enterprise. “As the first Changemaker Campus in Indiana, we hope to serve as an example of what is possible through innovation and collaboration.”

According to Ashoka U officials, students need interdisciplinary, entrepreneurial and solutions-oriented skillsets to succeed in today’s complex world that is changing at an accelerating pace.

“Changemakers at UE have made an impact by fueling the launch of Evansville’s Upgrade Bikeshare, obtaining $90,000 in grant funding for Carver Community Center to install solar panels, establishing sustainable art therapy programs in Guatemala, developing communication plans to reduce infant mortality in Evansville, fostering programs for ‘Skate Diplomacy’ in Cuba, developing strategies to reduce food waste, and more,” said Griffin.

“That word - ‘changemaking’ - may be a new term to some, but UE students, faculty, and staff are changemakers at the core,” said UE president Tom Kazee. “Through efforts like the Changemaker Challenge and access to dedicated resources like the Changemaker Incubator on campus, changemaking is woven into the very fabric of what makes the University of Evansville stand apart, and our students are making themselves and the world a better place because of it.”

Ashoka U noted that UE exhibits changemaking through its intense community engagement in ChangeLab courses and the Changemaker Challenge as well as its role in fostering social innovation in global issues and with global partners. Additionally, feedback during the selection process noted UE’s student-centered approach that encourages and empowers young people to make change.

“This is a tremendous honor not only for UE but also for the City of Evansville, and I am proud to be involved in it,” said Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke. “Watching high school and collegiate changemakers work with city leaders, businesses, and urban planners to implement a city-wide bike sharing program in record time made me realize the untapped potential our young people have to improve the ‘quality of place’ here.  Envisioning and implementing changes in our city, these energetic young people are shaping it to be a place they want to live, work, raise families, and stay for a long time.”

“None of this would have been possible without the support of the Lilly Endowment,” said Griffin. “Their generous support allowed us to put the structures and resources in place to become a Changemaker Campus.”

The Ashoka U Changemaker Campus Network is a dynamic, global network of leading colleges and universities who commit to advancing social innovation and changemaking across their institution and beyond. From admissions and the curriculum, to career services and alumni engagement, these colleges and universities set the bar for social innovation and changemaking in higher education. The Changemaker Campus Network includes nearly 50 colleges and universities from around the world including Brown, UC San Diego, Arizona State University, Miami Dade College, University of Northampton, Ryerson University, Simon Fraser University, and Tecnológico de Monterrey - Campus Guadalajara.

Learn more on Ashoka U’s website here: http://ashokau.org/

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