The mission statement of the Center for Social Entrepreneurship (CSE) states that “our students learn to be effective agents of social change by reflecting on who they are, connecting with others, analyzing systemic challenges, and engaging the world around them.” In the fall of 2013, to help fulfill this mission, we unveiled the “Center for Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship Program,” which is designed to support a select group of exceptionally promising Middlebury students.
The primary goals of this program are to extend this cohort’s exposure to opportunity, encourage humility and awareness of the complexities in trying to effect social change, and to help students avoid isolated experiences as they learn from failures and successes. The secondary goals are to develop a culture of dedicated leaders that mentor other Middlebury students and to assist the college in its quest to support summer internship opportunities for all Middlebury students.
In fall 2012, the first cohort of six “CSE Fellows” began to learn together as a cohort and, in time, give back to the extended Middlebury community, as undergraduates and later as alumni.
As part of their fellowship, the CSE Fellows will:
- Enroll in a winter-term course focused on Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation
- Integrate the theory and practice of social entrepreneurship into their academic work.
- Engage in two consecutive relevant summer experiences (with total grant support of up to $8,000.)
- Provide leadership on the Middlebury campus and beyond.
Selected CSE Fellows will spend time working with staff at the CSE to plan experiential-learning opportunities designed to enhance her/his academic work and lay the groundwork for leading a life of social change. For most Fellows, the first summer of experience will be in a structured environment (e.g., a program such as ThinkImpact, or an internship with Endeavor) which will foster the student’s understanding of such work in a professional context and introduce the challenge of addressing 21st century global challenges in a structured, mentored environment.
After this first summer of experience in the field, students will return to Middlebury or their study abroad program, actively sharing their experiences within their cohort and across the Middlebury community. Throughout the year, they will also commit to mentoring the next cohort of CSE Fellows, participating in CSE trainings, and beginning to design their own social enterprise. Based on the diversity of each student’s experience from her/his academic major (and possibly minor), experiential-learning opportunities, and study-abroad experience, the CSE will support a self or group-designed project during the second summer of the fellowship.
During their final semesters at Middlebury, the CSE Fellows will continue to lead as well as plan the next steps in their careers, under the guidance and mentorship of their faculty advisers, their peers, and staff from the CSE.
Application to the CSE Fellowship Program is open to sophomore febs, sophomores, and junior febs.