The final sentence in the Middlebury mission statement is: “Through the pursuit of knowledge unconstrained by national or disciplinary boundaries, students who come to Middlebury learn to engage the world.” At the CSE, we take this goal to heart.
Our programs are designed to enable students to reflect on who they are, connect with others, analyze systemic challenges, and engage the world around them.
Fellowship recipients become a cohort during their sophomore year at Middlebury College. Over the ne
xt two-and-a-half years, they will learn collaboratively and give back to the community. The goals of this program are to extend the cohort’s exposure to opportunity, encourage humility and awareness of the complexities in trying to effect social change, an
d help students avoid isolated experiences as they learn from failures and successes. These top students with a range of interests in social change and social justice each receive $8,000, personalized mentoring from CSE staff, and engage with one of the three fellowship tracks; design a social enterprise, become a social intra-preneur or research a topic of interest aimed at social change and social impact. The students are
expected to integrate social entrepreneurship into academic work, pursue relevant summer experiences, and lead in social entrepreneurship activities on campus and beyond.
CSE Summer Grants
Summer grants provide seed funding for teams of Middlebury College students to implement social change projects. The grants include a $10,000 Davis Project for Peace award for two students teams that have designed social-change projects and $3,000 for three other teams via the social entrepreneurship competition in MiddChallenge. Projects that have been funded through our summer grants included developing a composting system in a local high school, training youth changemakers in Mexico, initiating GIS mapping in Rwanda to aid a grassroots health organization, helping street children in Africa, creating insect-based food products to help at-risk populations in developing countries, and using design thinking to engage youth in Pakistan to tackle social issues.
CSE provides $2,500 for up to five Ambassador Corps students for internships with premier social enterprises in microfinance, sustainable agriculture, public health and other sectors. The Ambassador Corps, managed by our colleagues at CSIL, flips the traditional internship experience and works closely with both the host organization and the student intern to ensure that the match is mutually beneficial. Host organizations are in turn asked to define a job description that includes specific assignments, projects, and deliverables. This ensures a comprehensive experience for both the host and the student. Before the pairing is finalized, the host organization and the student hold a skype interview to be sure it is a beneficial fit for each. The internship offers students a hands-on experience to work with a world renowned social entrepreneurship organization and gain the front line know-how necessary to thrive in this type of work environment and potentially a future career path.
The CSE is designed to enhance the liberal arts experience for Middlebury students. Integration of social entrepreneurship in academic classes provides the opportunity in students to engage the theory behind social change along with exploring their own identity and agency. Many current courses complement the CSE’s programming, including:
- Society and the Individual
- Enterprise, Social Entrepreneurship, and the Liberal Arts
- Design Lab: Creating Innovation
- Management and Enterprises
- MiddCORE (Middlebury’s award-winning leadership and innovation program)
- MiddEntrepreneurs (for students who want to start their own business or nonprofit organization)
- The Design, Partnering, Management, and Innovation (DPMI) program at Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey.