Pioneering an Experiential Approach to Higher Education

Empowering people to be the change they want to see in the world

Photo of Clément Moliner-Roy
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Written by

Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

November 3rd, 1994

Where are you located:

Maine: Bar Harbor (04609)
Developing the initiative from College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor Maine but we will be creating impact around the world through our changemaker fellows!

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Date Started

April 2017

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

“How can I contribute the MOST to the world?”
This question gave birth to Changemaker Residency. In pondering it over and over, I realized that the most social impact we could have is to make 10, 100, or even 1000 people ask themselves what they want to contribute to the world and then equip them with the tools, resources, and network they need to bring their projects to fruition!

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Our current education system prepares students to make careers, but not always meaningful ones. Students are seldom asked what they want to contribute to the world. As a result, they make careers as a mean to make money, but they lack fulfillment because their work is not aligned with their values. By empowering people to be the change they want to be, they would live fulfilling life, and would solve our world's complex problems!

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We are seeking to develop a new experiential approach to higher education that puts "what do you want to contribute to the world" and each learners interest at the center. Our pilot project, Changemaker Residency offered with support from two business incubators (Esplanade and Espace-inc) will bring together 10 aspiring changemakers to pioneer and co-create this new education model that aims to equip fellows with the tools, skills, and mindsets needed to develop meaningful career that contribute to the people, planet, profit, peace, and partnerships. The goal of our pilot project is to create partnerships and synergies with existing organization with whom we will explore the following projects: developing changemaker educator trainings, developing a Watson-inspired semester program for changemakers, running programs year round in different locations around the globe.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

We already received 10 applications from around the world--South Sudan, Paraguay, USA, Scotland--of young aspiring changemakers with incredible projects--preventing crime, increasing road safety, empowering youth. When we received the applications, we seek to find the resources and connections that will be the most beneficial for those fellows. For instance, we will try to match our candidate from South Sudan who wants to launch an initiative to counter school dropouts with a coach who has ran a similar initiative in Canada!

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Our curriculum draws inspiration from global leaders in educational and social innovation. It was
designed after conducting research in 10 educational institutions, and conducting over 50 interviews with educators, researchers, and students exploring: “How to spark one’s desire to contribute to a better world” and “How to equip students with the skills, tools, and network to make positive change?”

With support of two business incubators with amazing network, we will bring in guests and experts that match our fellows interests.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

One of our main sources of inspiration is Watson University in Boulder, Colorado.
In 5 years, this university model has graduated 103 scholars who have created over 500 jobs and fundraised over CAD$ 43 million to launch social impact projects. We will track the similar measurements: number of changemakers, social impact projects launched, and jobs created.

Through the creation process, we know we've already impacted lives. One of our candidates actually started working on right after talking about it through an interview!

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

Our pilot projects aims to create partnerships and build towards:
-Running various programs to empower changemakers around the world.
-Developing a Changemaker Educator training
-Developing a Changemaker Semester

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

The key areas for which we are seeking support:
-Funding: We want to make our educational experiences available to all regardless of socio-economic backgrounds.
-Recruitment: We would like support in recruiting aspiring changemakers.
-Team: We already have an amazing team and board of advisor, but we want to grow the team as we grow new programs!

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations between $1k-$5k

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

People have been so excited about our project that we've had strangers reach out and say they would like to contribute their expertise for our pilot program! Please check out our website for details about our team and board of advisors:

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Self-identify race, ethnicity, or origin: (5)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • No, I do not identify with an underrepresented community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Ashoka page or contact

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

Mentor Dida

Find this idea inspiring? Add your own!


Join the conversation:

Photo of Mark

I like that you are bringing people together and encouraging them to help make a difference for possibly everyone. There's a lot of potential ripple effect in this. Its awesome you already have lots of help too. I think this would be an amazing opportunity for a lot of people, but not everyone can make a month long trip. Have you ever considered an online version? Like a video class where people around the world can participate in the conversation?

Photo of Clément

Great point Mark!

We are thinking about how to scale this initiative and make it accessible to all. We are also documenting our curriculum and approach thoroughly so we can share it with other educators. We are also currently looking into a partnership to develop a Changemaker Educator training. We also offer workshops and shorter trainings for different organisations.

We have considered the online approach, but this new experiential approach to higher education is so much more than just discussions. It's learning by doing, it's interacting with different guests and experts, it's using an entire community as our learning grounds. We hope to inspire other universities to adopt a more hands-on approach too.

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