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Important Resources from the 2015 Ashoka U Exchange

The Ashoka U Exchange 2015, the world’s largest convening for social entrepreneurship in higher education, was a wonderful learning opportunity. The Exchange brings together university faculty, staff, administrators and students representing 150 global institutions to share new ways of teaching and learning that will shape the way educational institutions influence the world. The sessions were informative and inspirational, addressing different types of social innovations in higher education and beyond. 

Over 700 participants from around the world packed the conference rooms at the Grand Hyatt in Washington DC, exchanging ideas for four days. Here are a few resources that were particularly interesting at the Ashoka Exchange 2015.

For Fellows interested in education: Check out The Inspired Teaching School. It is an amazing teaching instructional model that truly challenges the teachers to re-think their role in the classroom, and build their curriculum around 5 core elements: Intellect, Integrity, Inquiry and Imagination.

For those inspired by narratives and storytelling for change: Visit the Swearer Sparks and Storytelling at Brown University. Powerful stories can “spark ideas and connections that change society” and this site is full of examples of such impactful stories and even a storytelling toolkit to help create your own story.

Next, explore the free resource, Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), that brings together social innovators around the world. This upcoming MOOC from McGill University on Social Learning and Social Impact will begin in the Fall of 2015, but pre-registration is now available.  

Melton Fellow Shannon Williamson described her experience: “The Exchange was a really unique experience. I enjoyed learning how campuses all over the world are incorporating social innovation in their curriculum. My favorite session was with Hillel International. Hillel has a program called “Ask Big Questions” that attempts to change the way we relate to others (especially those who are different from us) through better conversation.They believe that having conversations around life’s “Big Questions” can create understanding among people that allows us to see past our differences and discover what we have more deeply in common. I had the chance to be a part of a Big Question conversation and it was amazing! I can’t wait to share this experience with the fellows on my campus and beyond.”

Plus, here are a few miscellaneous links that can also inspire and encourage in bringing about change:

  • Bringing Social Solutions Narratives into the classroom. This is solutions-based curriculum, anchored on the content of the NY Times Fixes Column.
  • UPenn Impact. Valentina Raman, a graduating student at the University of Pennsylvania launched this magazine for social change.
  • Open Ideo: For design thinkers, this is an online platform for social innovators and human centered design thinkers to collaborate and solve “the world’s most pressing problems.”