Going global

Going global

By Jeff Gire

Connected: A family in Madagascar with a ToughStuff solar phone charger — perhaps a company soon to be hosting an SCU Global Fellow. Photo courtesy of ToughStuff.
A $2 million grant creates a yearlong fellowship program—with students taking part in a global network of socially conscious businesses.

Next summer, four pairs of students will embark on an internship unlike any ever posted at a campus career center. They will travel to locations across the globe to work at budding businesses that provide innovative services to some of the world’s most poverty-stricken areas.

Some students may help provide low-cost solar power chargers for cell phones in rural Africa, saving people a day’s walk to a charging station. Others could end up in Paraguay, India, Kenya, and throughout the United States—perhaps training women in information technology so that they can enter traditionally male-dominated work forces.

  “It is our hope that being a Global Social Benefit Fellow will inspire our most promising student leaders.”

This fellowship, which is slated for the next five years, was made possible by two convergences. First, the decade of work by the Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI) run by SCU’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society; each year the GSBI trains up to 20 entrepreneurs to scale up a social benefit enterprise. Second, a $2 million grant from the Noyce Foundation, headed by former SCU trustee Ann Bowers. She served on the board for 12 years, when the University was led by President Paul Locatelli, S.J. ’60. “We wanted to create an enduring legacy to honor Father Locatelli, who was so passionate to see that the world’s most disadvantaged populations not be abandoned,” she said. “It is our hope that being a Global Social Benefit Fellow will inspire our most promising student leaders from all disciplines to leverage their talents, in ways small or large, for the betterment of all humanity.”

This year eight students will be chosen as Global Social Benefit Fellows through a competitive application process. These students first take a preparatory course on social entrepreneurship in the spring of their junior year, which will also introduce them to the enterprises at which they will intern during summer 2012.

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