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Portland State University was named Monday to an elite consortium of universities that are focused on social innovation education.
The Ashoka U program, run by Ashoka, a global association of socially motivated entrepreneurs, has so far named 19 schools to its Changemaker Campus program. Portland State University is the first school in the Pacific Northwest to achieve the designation.
The Changemaker label is the result of a months-long effort by PSU staff members who worked on the application and selection process through the Ashoka U program.
"This world-class partnership and lifelong distinction from Ashoka U celebrates the significant contributions PSU is already making through initiatives such as the Institute for Sustainable Solutions, Net Impact, Solutions Generator, Center for Global Leadership in Sustainability, SWEETLab, our own Impact Entrepreneurs and many others," wrote Cindy Cooper, co-founder and director of the school's Impact Entrepreneurs program and its Social Innovation Incubator, in a blog post. "It also puts PSU in direct contact with leading social innovation practitioners, educators, researchers and supporters around the world so that together we may create the change we seek."
"Today’s college students will have several careers in a globally connected context. They will manage increasingly complex challenges with a growing awareness of the social and environmental implications of their work," said Marina Kim, Ashoka U’s executive director, in a press release. "Colleges and universities are faced with the exciting opportunity – and responsibility – to develop the next generation as changemakers, equipping them not only to cope with, but drive and lead change.”
Criteria for selection include an emphasis on social entrepreneurship and an alignment with the Ashoka guiding vision, which is that everyone can make change.
PSU was named to the changemaker list Monday along with Brigham Young University, Brown University and Rollins College.
Those schools join the following universities who were previously designated by the Changemaker program:
- Arizona State University
- Babson College
- College of the Atlantic
- Cornell University
- Duke University
- George Mason University
- Johns Hopkins University
- Marquette University
- Middleburry College
- Tecnologico de Monterey — Campus Guadalajara
- The New School
- University of Colorado at Boulder
- University of Maryland — College Park
- University of San Diego