Students Pursue Social Change at Summer Institute

August 31, 2011

This summer Mary Baldwin University sophomores Mawa Ali and Jasmine Greinke attended the Sullivan Social Entrepreneurship Institute — a three-week, intensive study of social entrepreneurship to create social change. This year’s program was held at Sewanee, The University of the South, in Tennessee and was sponsored by the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation.

Sullivan Institute Group

By studying principles of social entrepreneurship, Ali and Greinke developed skills that will equip them to become agents of social change. They hope to use innovative, entrepreneurial ideas to solve chronic, social problems. Many regard social entrepreneurship as the new hope for alleviating seemingly permanent social ills because it has successfully prompted changemaking around the world.

“I’m glad I came to this course to learn about the ways we can help others through various programs and how to make these programs sustainable in the long run,” Greinke said. “With programs such as this, making social programs more sustainable for a better future is a more realistic goal. I plan to use the resources given to me to help others when I go back to school.”

Students visited organizations devoted to social change and developed social business plans for a number of local partner organizations that work to alleviate poverty in Grundy and Franklin counties in middle Tennessee. One community partner organization was Blue Monarch, a rehabilitation program and work ethics course for battered women.

“It was incredibly exciting and refreshing to see such raw enthusiasm from the students of the Social Entrepreneurship Summer Institute,” said Susan Binkley, executive director of Blue Monarch. “Each student seemed to be hungry for knowledge and absorbed information with great optimism for the future. I only wish I could fast forward a few years and see what amazing projects they have developed by then.”

The Sullivan Foundation, which sponsors the program, was created in 1930 to honor young men and women who demonstrate remarkable integrity and commitment to service. Each year during Commencement, Mary Baldwin presents the Algernon Sydney Sullivan award to a graduating senior and a deserving non-student who most fully embody these principles of unselfish service and noble character.