Students Hope to Ignite Change By Example

March 23, 2011

A group of Mary Baldwin University students — with the help of Mary Baldwin’s Spencer Center — will promote projects that inspire change and showcase the good that their classmates are doing as part of the first Changemaker Week, March 26 to April 1.

Organizers hope students will be inspired to serve on campus and beyond by learning from confident, compassionate, changemakers — students who set the standards for excellence in their communities and who have helped make Mary Baldwin known for its commitment to service .

“We are a college that expects everyone to walk the walk,” said Americorps/VISTA volunteer and Spencer Center staff member Robyn Stegman ’09. “We don’t just want to talk about the good we could be doing in the community, we want to ensure that we are actually giving back.”

The motto for this week of leadership and change can be described in one word — capacity. Instead of participating in direct service work, such as volunteering to clean up abandoned neighborhoods, students will be participating in long-term acts of change, like helping a company create a social media marketing plan so that they can reach more people. Students who take part in Changemaker Week will also learn about companies that use profit to make positive changes in their communities.

Originally conceived as Social Entrepreneurship Week, Changemaker Week was inspired by students Audrey Wong ’11, Lorena Granados ’13, and Katrina Broughman ’13 who participated in retreats sponsored by the Sullivan Social Entrepreneurship Program and the Ashoka Institute . Senior Kimberly Parker became involved with the planning of Changemaker Week after taking a class about social entrepreneurship during her Semester of Service. The students have each brought to Baldwin suggestions and lessons they learned to help classmates get involved.

 Katrina Broughman

“During Changemaker Week, we plan to inspire more enthusiastic changemakers at Mary Baldwin University,” Broughman said. “From what I’ve learned over the past several years, no person is a one-man or one-woman army. Everyone is allowed to ask for help, even a changemaker. That’s what it’s all about — lending a helping hand. Without even realizing it, you are often making a huge impact in someone else’s life.”

A variety of events are designed to inspire and motivate students. The week will blast off at 5 p.m. March 26 with a rock concert in Hunt West. The $5 admission ticket for the School of Rock concert allows attendees not only the chance to hear seven bands but also ensures that local schools sustain their art and music departments. On March 28, Soles4Souls founder Wayne Elsey will share his inspirational story about how he set out to change the world through his organization. Author Lisa Shannon will lead a book discussion March 29 on her memoir, A Thousand Sisters, about the oppression of women in Congo and her mission to save them. Students at Mary Baldwin will lead a lunchtime panel discussion

March 30 to talk about ways students can get involved on campus and on March 31, students can learn how to be successful entrepreneurs and still make a difference in the world as alumnae speak about how they have used their careers as an instrument of service for the greater good. On April 1 — the final day of Changemaker Week — students will have the opportunity to help the people of Japan by volunteering with organizations that are currently helping that country deal with the devastation from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

“The week is going to be full of change-making inspiration,” Broughman said.

For more information about Changemaker Week, email Stegman or call her at 540-887-7115.