Often, students at Middlebury can easily forget that we are our own greatest resource. Through MLab sessions, the MCSE hopes to cultivate an atmosphere where students can re-discover the power of connecting with one another.
From 1:30-2:30 on Friday afternoons, students can gather in the Center at 118 South Main Street for an informal discussion centering on a certain aspect of social entrepreneurship. These topics are solicited directly from students.
MLab gives students a chance to practice pitching and describing their own ideas in an informal setting. Best of all, these discussions provide a supportive audience and a forum for exchanging strategies, techniques and advice. Much like a scientific laboratory, students who attend MLab discussions are given resources and connections to test out their hypotheses.
This past Friday, following her lecture, Jihad Hajjouji ’14 led a discussion of challenges and possible solutions to teaching youth about social entrepreneurship.
Participants ranged from those who also had experience teaching youth to those who had heard Hajjouji’s talk and just wanted to learn more.
The participants were also joined by Faculty Director Jon Isham and Jaya Ghosh ’12, Program and Outreach Associate.
The discussion was informal, lively and free-flowing. Students immediately began to ask each other questions about their experiences in hopes of learning new ideas and tips for their own future endeavors.
An honest conversation about the difficulties of networking had everyone giggling about the awkwardness of approaching strangers. Students talked about the importance of growing networks even when you don’t see an immediate benefit to making certain connections. One younger student asked about specific advice for shy personalities when networking. Other students encouraged her to talk to people that intimidate her — even here on campus — to practice and overcome her fear.
Students who had shared Hajjouji’s experience of working with youth shared difficulties they experienced in the process of training students to network and communicate with others. The discussion quickly led to swapping pedagogical techniques and fun activity ideas.