Center for Social Entrepreneurship

at Middlebury

Symposium on Social Entrepreneurship & Social Justice

Guest post by Lauren Kelly ’13

Next week we will officially celebrate our beloved MCSE’s one-year anniversary.  Last January, the center brought in revolutionary thinkers, Bill Drayton and Jacqueline Novogratz, to help launch its first inaugural symposium.  As a student who attended all lectures and workshop opportunities, I can confidently say that the event was nothing short of magnificent.

Although this sounds a bit dramatic, it’s true: for me, the symposium was life changing.  At the time, I was a junior with ample ambition and too many interests to count, but no direction.  The symposium was my first taste of social enterprise and social innovation.  I was instantly inspired by conversations about empathy education and patient capital.  After one weekend of listening, learning, and participating, I was hooked.  For the first time ever, I felt intensely passionate about one particular field of work.

This year, I will be strongly encouraging all of my friends (and acquaintances, too!) to attend the MCSE’s second annual symposium on Social Entrepreneurship and Social Justice.  From January 24-26, the center will be supporting a myriad of phenomenal events.  A few highlights include: an opening address by Billy Parish, a keynote address by Majora Carter, and a panel consisting of Parish, Carter, and Middlebury’s own, Bill McKibben.  For more information on each of these standout guest speakers, please see below.  Also, see below for details about the times and locations of scheduled talks, presentations, workshops, and discussions.

On behalf of the MCSE office, I would like to extend a warm invitation to any and all individuals interested in attending our upcoming symposium.  We hope to see you there!

Majora Carter

Eco-entrepreneur Carter is the host of the Peabody Award winning public radio series “The Promised Land.” Her talk is the keynote speech for both the symposium and the college’s 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, and will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25, in Mead Chapel. In 2001, Carter founded Sustainable South Bronx, which she headed up until 2008. At that time few were talking about “sustainability” and even fewer in places such as the South Bronx. By 2003, Carter had coined the phrase “Green the Ghetto” as she pioneered one of the nation’s first urban green-collar job training and placement systems, and spearheaded legislation that fueled demand for those jobs. Since 2008, her consulting company, Majora Carter Group (MCG), has focused on climate adaptation, urban revitalization, and leadership development strategies for business, government, foundations, universities and economically under-performing communities. Carter has received awards from groups as diverse as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, John Podesta’s Center for American Progress, and Goldman Sachs. She is also the recipient of a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship. Her 2006 TED talk  was one of the first six videos to launch the organization’s groundbreaking website. 

Billy Parish

Parish dropped out of Yale to co-found the Energy Action Coalition, a national youth organization focused on clean energy and climate solutions. He is the founder and president of Oakland, Calif.-based Solar Mosaic, a company that uses crowdsourcing to enable individuals to finance solar projects and receive a return on their investment. Ashoka, a global nonprofit association of social entrepreneurs, awarded him an Ashoka Fellowship, making him the youngest person to receive this honor. Rolling Stone named him a “Climate Hero” and the Utne Reader included him in its list of “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World.” Parish is co-author of “Making Good: Finding Meaning, Money and Community in a Changing World” (Rodale/Penguin, 2012). Copies of his book will be available after his talk at a book signing.

Bill McKibben

McKibben is an environmental author and activist, and the co-founder, with seven Middlebury graduates, of 350.org, an international climate change organization. His 1989 book “The End of Nature” was the first book to warn the general public about the threat of global warming. He is a frequent contributor to various publications, including The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone and Outside. McKibben has received numerous awards, such as the Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships. He is the Schuman Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College.

Social Entrepreneurship & Social Justice Schedule


Student Showcase—6:00 pm in McCullough Gallery

Opening Address by Billy Parish—7:00 pm in McCullough Social Space


Making Good Workshop with Billy Parish—8:30 am in McCullough Social Space

Social Justice Presentations—11:00 am in McCullough

Social Justice Workshops—2:00 pm in Axinn Center

Keynote Address by Majora Carter—7:30 pm in Mead Chapel


Panel with Parish, Carter, and Bill McKibben—10:00 am in McCullough Social Space

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