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Bill HolderJune 4, 20183min
Five Wesleyan students determined to make life better for girls in rural African areas have received a prestigious $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grant. Their start-up nonprofit, Rural Access, seeks to expand access to health and education in impoverished areas, while also raising awareness of pressing health issues. Among those is the need to address lack of menstrual hygiene products, which frequently keeps girls out of school and leads to high dropout rates, poverty, and other harmful outcomes. This summer, Rural Access will be working in Ethiopia and Guyana to make menstrual hygiene kits and distribute them to girls. The…

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Lauren RubensteinMay 11, 20183min
How did a young refugee from Iraq inspire a high school student from New Britain, Conn., to write a poem that went on to be performed by a 100-person choir made up of high schoolers from around the East Coast? It all began at Wesleyan. Ahmed Badr ’20 was born in Iraq and came to the United States as a refugee in 2008, after his family’s home in Baghdad was bombed by militia troops. As he struggled to adjust to life in the U.S., he started a personal blog to write about his experiences, and “found it incredibly empowering” to…

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Olivia DrakeMarch 2, 20186min
On March 2, Wesleyan students pitched their project ideas to a panel of judges at the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship (PCSE) Seed Grant finals. Of the six finalists who presented, three teams were awarded $5,000 seed grants to fund the launch of their social enterprise, program, organization or venture. The winning projects address a compelling social problem, have a clear objective and data strategy, and have potential to produce a lasting and replicable impact. In addition to the project itself, judges based their decisions on the applicants' passion, commitment, tenacity, leadership and personal integrity. The 2018 Seed Grant recipients are: Eat at…

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Lauren RubensteinMarch 2, 20182min
On Feb. 24, Wesleyan hosted a "hackathon" for social good in collaboration with Random Hacks of Kindness Jr. The free event introduced more than 50 local children in grades 4 through 8 to technology and showed them how it could be used to create solutions that benefit nonprofit organizations. About half the children came from Middletown, while others came from as far away as Greenwich, Griswold and West Hartford to participate. Seven Wesleyan students and two staff members served as volunteer mentors, working with the children to devise computer applications that addressed a range of problems facing local organizations. Five nonprofit social…

Lauren RubensteinFebruary 13, 20181min
Wesleyan, in collaboration with Random Hacks of Kindness Jr., is hosting a “hackathon” for social good for students in grades 4 through 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24. This free event, to be held in Beckham Hall, will show local youth how technology can be used to create solutions that benefit nonprofit organizations. The hackathon is open to the public and requires no prior coding experience. “Participants will be working with Wesleyan student mentors to create technology for social good,” explained Patrice Gans, president and executive director of Random Hacks of Kindness Jr. “By the…

Olivia DrakeDecember 8, 20171min
On Nov. 28, Wesleyan's Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship received a $10,000 grant from the Newman's Own Foundation to support student internships. "The gift from the Newman Foundation will be used to offer stipends to students doing social impact and entrepreneurship work during the summer," explained Makaela Kingsley '98, director of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship. "We are grateful for the support of Newman’s Own and our other donors who make this work possible." Trustee Emeritus Bob Patricelli '61 P'88 P'90 is a board member for Newman's Own and has generously encouraged the foundation to support Patricelli Center programs over…

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Lauren RubensteinJune 1, 20172min
Wesleyan's Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship was honored in May as U.S. Senator Chris Murphy's “Innovator of the Month.” It is the first educational institution to receive this recognition. Founded in May 2011, the PCSE provides workshops, training, mentoring, and networking opportunities to Wesleyan students and alumni who are tackling social problems using entrepreneurial solutions. PCSE also hosts a year-long fellowship course for undergraduates and an annual $5,000 seed grant competition. With support from foundations and individual donors, PCSE is now an endowed program and a permanent part of Wesleyan University. “Wesleyan’s PCSE is a one-of-a-kind program,” Murphy said. “PCSE…

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Olivia DrakeMay 9, 20173min
In Fall 2016, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship launched a for-credit, cohort-style, project-based fellowship program (CSPL 264 and 265) for 36 students. And on May 9, the fellows celebrated the success of the pilot program during a group lunch and discussion. Among the fellows are Alexandra Bacchus ’17, who is working to create a platform for day laborers to connect with potential employers in a safe and trustworthy way to combat job insecurity and low pay. Nebiyu Daniel ’18 is expanding health education in his hometown of Garamuleta, Ethiopia through his organization, Rural Access. Iraqi refugee Ahmed Badr ’20 is…

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Frederic Wills '19March 13, 20173min
"Walking Elephants Home," a Mahouts Elephant Foundation (MEF) project launched and run by Becca Winkler ’16, has been nominated for the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) grant—and voting is open until March 23. "From many conversations with elephant owners struggling to make ends meet and who were unhappy with the conditions their elephants live in at elephant camps, I could see that we needed a new model,” Winkler said. "The forests of Thailand have been home to the Asian elephant for thousands of years; it is their birthright. 'Walking Elephants Home' is on a mission to to prove that tourists should…

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Olivia DrakeMarch 1, 20172min
On Feb. 27, three student-led social impact projects received a Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship 2017 seed grant. The Patricelli Center will award these ventures with $5,000 each in unrestricted funds as well as training, advising, mentoring, incubator workspace and other resources from the Patricelli Center. Recipients were selected from a pool of finalists who submitted written business plans and pitched to a panel of expert judges comprised of alumni, parents, students, faculty and community partners. Applicants were assessed on their project design, leadership qualities and potential for social impact. The 2017 Seed Grant recipients are: Dream Chasers led by AJ Wilson ’18,…