Our social innovation initiatives work to prepare and support students to address persistent social problems. Programs such as the social innovation fellows, innovation roundtables, and the Levitt Center Social Innovation Lab draw together individuals to work to foster creativity and self-awareness to develop novel solutions.
This program is designed to prepare and support students who aim to use innovative approaches to address persistent social problems. The program begins with a weeklong workshop during winter break facilitated by Anke Wessels and modeled after an award-winning course she teaches at Cornell University. Select projects receive funding and mentoring support.
These fellowships give students the opportunity to take their interest in social innovation beyond college and into their future. There are two grants: the Levitt Social Innovation Fellowship award is for $25,000 and will allow Hamilton graduates to start their own local project to help disadvantaged populations; the Public Service Fellowship award is for $10,000 to be used as supplementary income for Hamilton graduates who wish to work in local government or at a non-profit.
Innovation Roundtables were designed to draw together individuals to discuss and address a specific, long-standing social problem. The facilitator, often a faculty member, introduces a social problem and leads an initial discussion to create an on-going, collective effort to address the issue in a meaningful way. Roundtables meet on Friday afternoons and attract students, faculty, staff, and community members. All members of the Hamilton community are welcome to propose and lead an Innovation Roundtable.
This space is well-suited for group brainstorming and design. All rooms are equipped with wall-to-wall white boards and comfortable seating to spur creative thought. The spaces are designed to support student innovators as they work to develop novel solutions to persistent social problems. Students are encouraged to reserve time in the lab to collaborate with their peers on an issue they are passionate about. You can reserve the spaces using Hamilton's scheduling program 25 Live.
Hamilton is an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus. Ashoka U is an initiative of Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs. Building on Ashoka’s vision for a world where everyone is a changemaker, Ashoka U takes an institutional change approach to impact the education of millions of students. They collaborate with colleges and universities to break down barriers to institutional change and foster a campus-wide culture of social innovation.
Social innovation workshops provide opportunities for students to develop the skills and gain the knowledge necessary for them to make a positive impact on their community. The Levitt Center hosts workshops on topics as varied as ethics, institutional change, and entrepreneurship.
Hamilton is a member of the Clinton Global University Initiative network, an organization that convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. Funding is available for select students whose “commitment to action” projects are accepted by CGI U.
At different times throughout the year, social innovators and entrepreneurs will be available on campus to help students develop ideas and projects that seek to address a long-standing social problem in innovative and creative ways. The Innovator-in-Residence will be available to meet with individuals or groups during office hours and will offer one or multiple workshops.
Tsion Tesfaye '16 (aka "T") was born and raised in Ethiopia and is concerned about the problem of brain drain; talented students leaving Ethiopia and never returning. With that impetus, T, as a sophomore, became a Levitt Social Innovation Fellow. She designed and implemented a six-week program for 15 high school students in Ethiopia, during which they were introduced to the concept of social innovation and began to think about how they might address persistent social problems in their own country.