Social Innovation Initiative (SI2)

Supporting social innovation at MHC

The McCulloch Center provides support, mentorship, and seed funding to student innovators who are developing and implementing projects to address some of the world’s most vexing challenges. It advances this agenda in collaboration with multiple units across campus, most importantly Entrepreneurship, Organizations, and Society. Under the Social Innovation Initiative (SI2), students advance projects that are grounded in the community, informed by the curriculum, and build student capacity for “effective and purposeful engagement in the world” – chiefly in the fields of education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health. Students can secure seed funding for projects that meet high standards, and can compete for conference funding.

SI2 in 2017

Seasoned and emerging social innovators secured high-value mentoring and seed funding to scope, implement, and sustain projects around the world in 2017.  Entrepreneurship Coordinator and Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, Organizations and Society (EOS), Rick Feldman, helped students advance project ideas through EOS courses and personalized mentoring. Students proposing projects from the Dominican Republic to Zimbabwe were awarded competitive seed funding, including: Angelica Mercado and her non-profit effort, Educacion Sin Limites; Sara Harda’s e-nitiate coding camp in Morocco; and Carly Forcade’s Travel Unicorn connecting LGBTQ+ travelers to safe destinations.  A call for 2018 seed funding proposals will be released in coming weeks.

Building from our experience with CGI U, Mount Holyoke is determined to develop our own innovation ecosystem – tapping into the significant expertise of our alumnae, our expanding curricular resources, the Makerspace, and related efforts. A key milestone on our path will be an inaugural social innovation conference at Mount Holyoke: Global-Local Inequalities: Social Change for Sustainable Communities (February 16-17, 2018).

Previous work in social innovation: CGIU

Watch the video for an overview of Clinton Global Initiative University.

Image of Yan Yan '17

2016: Record numbers invited to attend CGIU

Mount Holyoke students excelled at the annual Clinton Global Initiative University gathering, winning awards—and top honors in the coding competition.
Students at the Clinton Global Initiative University 2015 in Miami.

2015: MHC shines at Clinton Global Initiative

Eight students traveled to Miami for the annual global problem-solving summit, which brings together topic experts, project funders, and other luminaries.

2014: MHC Sends 14 Changemakers to Conference

MHC students are developing change-the-world projects this week at the Clinton Global Initiative University conference in Arizona.

2016 Changemakers

In 2016, a record-breaking 18 Mount Holyoke students were invited to attend the CGI U convening at UC Berkeley.  Consistent with past years, MHC students made an outsized impact -- with Danielle Harris ('16) a member of the winning Code-a-thon team and multiple students selected for The Exchange (Woyneab Habte '17, Yan Yan '17, and Jemimah Kamau FP)  -- with support from 2016 mentor Dr. Tamara Stenn. 

2015 Changemakers

The 2015 CGI U convening was held March 6-8 at the University of Miami.  Twelve Mount Holyoke were invited to Florida, to turn their ideas into action.  Many of these students  developed their Commitments to Action in MHC's Social Innovation Lab, led by Elizabeth Long Lingo, who accompanied the students to the conference.  They also found inspiration in the 2014 CGI U cohort, two of whom were invited to return to the global convening for a second year.

2014 Changemakers

In 2014, fourteen MHC students -- proposing innovative solutions from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe -- were selected to participate in the CGI U meeting March 21-23 at Arizona State University, where they networked with international experts and other student leaders.  In Phoenix, Celine Mudahakana ('16) was invited to showcase her project, Weaving for Peace, at the prestigious CGI U "Expo" while Prarthana Bhattarai ('15) and Jazmin Locke ('14) were chosen as two of only 23 Resolution Project Fellows from among more than 1000 participating students.