Scott Warren ’09, social entrepreneur and co-founder of the nonprofit Generation Citizen, has been chosen as the Spring 2017 Taubman Fellow and Social Entrepreneur in Residence, a “semester-long residency program for experienced social change leaders,” according to the University’s website. The position resulted from collaboration between the Swearer Center for Public Service and Taubman Center for Public Policy, the website also states.
Alan Harlam, director of innovation and social entrepreneurship at the Swearer Center, said the entrepreneur-in-residence program is designed to “bring the practice of social innovation to the campus both in the classroom (and) also in the mentoring of entrepreneurs through the Social Innovation Fellowship,” a program that supports and funds student innovation initiatives, he said.
During his senior year, Warren co-founded Generation Citizen with Anna Ninan ’09. The nonprofit aims to encourage youth participation in politics and continues to operate on campus as a student group.
The club’s mission is “to go into under-resourced public schools and provide direct service to the students that we work with,” said Sydney Menzin ’17, chapter executive director of Generation Citizen at Brown. “Ultimately, the program focuses on building leadership and advocacy skills of these youth to empower them to create change on their own.”
Harlam worked closely with Warren in developing the nonprofit during his time as a student. Following Warren’s success in expanding the club beyond Brown, Harlam, along with the Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Initiative at the Swearer Center, became determined to bring Warren back to campus.
“We were excited about the way in which Generation Citizen has been approaching teaching civics in an innovative way (and) the way they feel civics is crucial to the future of the democracy,” Harlam said.
Warren credited his upbringing with the initial idea for his nonprofit. “I grew up around the world so I saw a lot of merging democracies in action, whether it was in Kenya or Latin America,” Warren said. “That convinced me of the power and potential positivity of politics.”
Though he described difficulties in balancing both Generation Citizen and schoolwork during his time as an undergraduate, Warren praised the support he received from University affiliates such as Harlam.
“One of the great things about Brown, although a cliché, is that it is what you make of it. I learned a tremendous amount from my classes but also a tremendous amount from engaging in this type of work,” Warren said. “I’m grateful that Brown provides the type of platform where (nonprofit development) is possible.”
As part of his role as the Entrepreneur in Residence and Taubman Fellow, Warren will be teaching a course next semester. Warren said he hopes to highlight the salience of locally oriented and community-based activism. “Generation Citizen forced me to think, that I’m hoping will get through in the class, about what it means to be a Brown student — in Providence, in the state of Rhode Island,” he said.
“The most powerful story of Generation Citizen is to continue to engage with the community,” Warren said in support of local activism. “Brown students can’t solve all the problems in Rhode Island, but there’s a lot of people and organizations working to solve those challenges.”