The Swearer Center for Public Service launched an 11-part series on Change.org's social entrepreneurship blog last month. Organized by Brown's Social Innovation Initiative, the series will showcase stories and ideas from the University's students, faculty and alums on the topic of undergraduate social entrepreneurship.
The blog's main goal is to raise awareness for the center's work, said Alan Harlam, director of social entrepreneurship for the Swearer Center. The center also hopes their success with the blog will lead Change.org to sign on for a second series.
"The blog is an ever-evolving and emerging tool," Harlam said. So far, posts have included advice on how to create sustainable social entrepreneurship initiatives and discussions about ethics and generosity among social entrepreneurs.
The Social Innovation Initiative was "formed to build a capacity of student-led and -run projects," Harlam said. Students work to create better constructed and sustainable projects to foster community development.
"Our sense historically is that there are a lot of students at Brown that get (these projects) started both locally and globally," said Roger Nozaki MAT'89, director of the Swearer Center and associate dean of the College. "It is the fabric of Brown. I believe that the Brown curriculum and natural interests (of students) in social change leads to social entrepreneurship or a social culture."
"Our challenge at Brown wasn't to create a culture of social innovation among students," Nozaki wrote in his Change.org blog post. "We needed to figure out precisely what we could do to increase the potential for student learning and significant, sustainable impact resulting from what students were already doing."
"If the organization itself is going to succeed, it must be well thought out," said Barrett Hazeltine, professor emeritus of engineering and author of the second post on the Change.org blog. To make their projects sustainable, entrepreneurs must have a "cold mind" focused on profits, while making a difference in the community, he said.
"Little things can really make a big difference, and if you can make life better for one family, it's worth it," he added.