Georgian College is the first college in Canada to be designated a Changemaker Campus by Ashoka U for its role as a leader in social innovation and changemaking in higher education. Since 2008, over 40 colleges and universities around the world have received the designation, including four universities in Canada.
The recognition is the outcome of a rigorous selection process lasting more than a year. Georgian will join the Changemaker Campus Network—a dynamic, global community of students, staff, administrators, faculty and community partners who share a commitment to lead positive social change around the world.
Ashoka U is an initiative of Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs and changemakers. The program recognizes colleges and universities globally that have embedded social innovation and changemaking into their culture, programming and operations.
“Ashoka U is the leading designation for social innovation in higher education,” says Georgian President and CEO MaryLynn West-Moynes. “This prestigious designation recognizes the leadership of our students and staff across all of our seven campuses who understand that making social change is vital to our way of life. Some examples of how we have begun our journey include assisting community non-profit organizations in the creation of social enterprises, travelling all around the world to help others such as frequent trips to the Caribbean to provide health care, inventing new apps for policing or food production, and so much more. Becoming part of Ashoka U is only the beginning – Georgian is committed to expand our leadership and role in sparking positive social change in all our communities and around the world.”
Georgian is home to the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre, the Centre for Social Innovation and the Centre for Applied Research and Innovation, all of which address community development, social innovation and environmental concerns.
According to Ashoka U officials, students need interdisciplinary, entrepreneurial and solutions-oriented skillsets to succeed in today’s complex world, which is changing at an accelerating pace.
“Students are all seeking meaning and a viable career path where they can thrive and contribute,” says Ashoka U’s co-founder and executive director, Marina Kim. “Social innovation skills focus on developing empathy, creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving and prepare students to add value in the world, regardless of whether they innovate within existing organizations or start their own organization.”
The Ashoka U Changemaker Campus Network is a dynamic, global network of leading colleges and universities that commit to advancing social innovation and changemaking across their institution and beyond. From admissions and the curriculum, to career services and alumni engagement, these colleges and universities set the bar for social innovation and changemaking in higher education. The Changemaker Campus Network includes over 40 colleges and universities from around the world including Brown, UC San Diego, Arizona State University, Miami Dade College, University of Northampton, Ryerson University, Simon Fraser University, and Tecnológico de Monterrey – Campus Guadalajara.