MDC was recently designated as an Ashoka U. Changemaker Campus. This designation recognizes the College’s role as a leader in social innovation education. MDC is the only public institution of higher education in the Southeastern United States to receive this recognition, joining a global network of institutions such as Brown, Cornell and Johns Hopkins, among others.
Launched in Washington, D.C., in 2008, Ashoka is the brainchild of Bill Drayton, the man responsible for the rise of the term “social entrepreneur.” Drayton believes that the most powerful force in the world is a big idea in the hands of a great entrepreneur, and that even a modest amount of support can make a significant difference in getting that idea off the ground. Drayton has developed a global organization that empowers social entrepreneurs to become “Changemakers.” In fact, more than 80 percent of these Ashoka Fellows have started developing a significant Changemaking idea by their early teens. Thus, Ashoka U was born with the commitment to empower students through education to be changemakers who are able to meaningfully impact education, health-care, economics and other major areas of world concern. Drayton’s big idea has grown into a vast global network of individuals, businesses, organizations and now educational institutions committed to identifying problems and tackling them until they are fixed.
MDC’s diverse population, multi-campus model and role as a community institution, sets it apart from major, four-year colleges, and makes it an ideal laboratory for innovative approaches to Changemaking. MDC is currently developing the “It Takes One,” campaign to put Changemaking within the reach of most people.
The purpose is to introduce changemaking and to invite everyone into the conversation. Whether you’re the type of student who can invest significant time and effort to innovation at a high level, or you’re a part-time student juggling work, family and other responsibilities, “It Takes One” will sow the seeds of Changemaking through the General Education curriculum and other co-curricular activities.
One person, one class activity, one action, is all it takes to light the spark that will perhaps send an individual down the path of social innovation. By becoming aware of the power of one and growing the desire to change social issues that are important to them, students will understand why education also matters, and why it’s important to learn the skills needed to effectively communicate the powerful ideas that may yet change the world.