Innovation and Entrepreneurship Can Create Social Change

October 28, 2011

The Georgetown University Social Innovation and Public Service Fund (SIPS) organized a panel centered around a discussion about social innovation and public service. Specifically, the panel focused on the challenges faced in the non-profit and social business world and ways to get undergraduates involved and interested in service. After a directed question and answer period we opened up the discussion to all in attendance and many students participated.
I found the SIPS Fund Panel on innovation and entrepreneurship for social impact uniquely inspiring as a student aspiring to not simply enter the development sector, but to innovate within it. The SIPS panel gathered four phenomenal panelists from non-profit, social entrepreneurship, and student business backgrounds, but it was not necessarily the panelists' different stories or advice that made this panel stand out when compared to other exceptional professionals who've spoken during my years at Georgetown.

Rather, the SIPS panel was uniquely inspiring because the panelists, as former and current Georgetown students, were so accessible and the context of their social innovation so familiar that I was inspired to take the risks necessary to step off the beaten path as they had - not always an easy thing to do at Georgetown.

I took away powerful anecdotes of persistently seeking out expert advice and resources, collaborating with students of opposite skill sets, and foregoing sleep and even class to build a vision and an organization into a reality. Each panelist acknowledged that following this path inherently brings job insecurity, variable but always long hours, and inevitable failures, they also professed how fulfilling and invigorating it is to be an innovator and provide some necessary service.

Walking out of the Philodemic room, I felt inspired not only to create broader social change by going ahead with founding my own non-profit, but I am encouraged to help build an environment for students at Georgetown that fosters creativity and allows for failure in following their own passions.

This blog entry was submitted by the Georgetown University Social Innovation and Public Service Fund (SIPS), a group participating in the Patrick Healy Fellowship's 25 Days of Service, a President's Interfaith Challenge student partner.
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