The Social Innovation Fellows is a new “high impact” learning opportunity administered by the Institute for Nonprofits at North Carolina State University. The purpose of the Social Innovation Fellows is to offer participants from any discipline a yearlong team experience to learn leadership as well as technical skills to become impactful social entrepreneurs and innovators in their communities.
On August 24th, an energetic event in the James B. Hunt Jr. Library officially kicked off the Social Innovation Fellows There were several speakers at the event, and their aim was to provide a comprehensive overview of the program. The introductory remarks came from Dr. Richard Clerkin, who is currently serving as the Executive Director of the Institute for Nonprofits. Dr. Jeffrey Braden, dean of the university’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, praised the multi-disciplinary and problem solving nature of the program. Also, among those who had remarks for the event were Elizabeth Benefield, and Katie Gray Altmann. Elizabeth Benefield, the Social Entrepreneurship Program Manager, expressed her excited about the kickoff when said that “the Fellows opening brings together all the knowledge we’ve gained from working with students over the past four years. We’ve created a continual learning pathway that builds exciting campus entrepreneurial assets. We can’t wait to see what the inaugural cohort will do!” Katie Gray Altmann is a team mentor for the Social Innovation Fellows, and her statements captured the significance of the program. Altmann said that “I am a senior studying Industrial Design…I never knew that there could or would be a place like this for someone like me to apply not only my discipline, but also my passion to facilitate positive social change as well. It will take people like you all to ignite this movement and grow this strong program.” In sum, all of these remarks set the tone of the event, and showed the level of commitment made to successfully implement the Social Innovation Fellows.
In addition, the launch event brought together a diverse group of students that will soon began their journey as a Social Innovation Fellow. The diversity of the Fellows is one of the strengths of this program, and it will yield a variety of new approaches to solving some of the grand challenges of our time. Ultimately, every individual Fellow in the program will leave knowing the true meaning of discovering, designing, and doing good.