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'Changemakers' take part in national innovation conference

March 03, 2011

Arizona State University, selected last fall as a Changemaker Campus, recently took part in the Ashoka Exchange, a social entrepreneurship conference hosted by Ashoka U – a global network of social entrepreneurs. The conference took place at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

The event connected more than 60 colleges and universities from all over the United States and across four continents to explore how universities can drive global change.

Participating in the exchange were 11 "changemakers" from ASU's Education Outreach and Student Services, Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, School of Social Transformation, College of Public Programs, W. P. Carey School of Business, College of Technology and Innovation, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and Office of University Initiatives.

Zach Yentzer, a political science sophomore, attended as a Barrett Honors College representative, and was the student recipient of the honors social entrepreneurship travel stipend.

“Great things are not developed by the answers we have, but by the questions we ask,” Yentzer said. “The AshokaU Exchange conference allowed me to ask questions of some of the best social entrepreneurs in the field today and learn from their expertise – an experience that will help me launch my own venture at Arizona State.”

Yentzer is working with another ASU undergraduate student, Brian McCollow, to launch the Consortium for New Global Trade, a think tank and action tank that aims to tap into the creative power of youth to develop new trade practices that promote sustainable prosperity.  

Regina Duran, an ASU undergraduate studying nonprofit leadership and management and global studies, was a featured speaker at the event, among renowned social change leaders that included Holden Thorp, Chancellor of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Maya Ajmera, the founder and president of The Global Fund for Children, among others. Videos of these presentations, aimed to inspire others in the field, will be released online throughout the month.

Duran also co-facilitated a workshop about guerilla marketing strategies with students from Tulane University and Amherst University. She said that the conference was more than an opportunity to exchange ideas – but that it was the beginning of a "movement that will revolutionize higher education.”

ASU is scheduled to host the Ashoka Exchange in 2012 – the same year that marks Arizona's 100th anniversary of statehood and the 10th anniversary of the New American University. Those who are interested in getting involved in the planning for next year’s national conference should contact Jacqueline Smith.