PCSE Awards Seed Grants to Student-Led Ventures

The Wesleyan Doula Project is a student-run, volunteer collective that improves access to quality women’s health care by training students and non-students to work in local clinics, and by directing outreach locally, state-wide, and nationally. Pictured from left are the co-founders, Hannah Sokoloff-Rubin '16, Julia Vermeulen '15 and Zandy Stovicek '17.

The Wesleyan Doula Project, a seed grant winner, is a student-run, volunteer collective that improves access to quality women’s health care by training students and non-students to work in local clinics, and by directing outreach locally, state-wide, and nationally. Pictured from left are the co-founders, Hannah Sokoloff-Rubin ’16, Julia Vermeulen ’15 and Zandy Stovicek ’17.

Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship announced the winners of the 2015 PCSE Seed Grant Challenge. These student-led social ventures will each receive $5,000 in unrestricted funds as well as training, advising, mentoring, incubator workspace and other resources from the Patricelli Center.

Recipients were selected from a strong pool of finalists who submitted written business plans and pitched to a panel of expert judges comprised of alumni, students, faculty and staff. Applicants were assessed on their project design, leadership qualities and potential for social impact.

The 2015 Seed Grant recipients are:

assk-logo-300x131Assk (Rachel Verner ’15)

Assk is a company that strives to normalize sexual consent through apparel and education, thereby preventing sexual violence. The apparel may serve as a broad reminder on a t-shirt, as a sign of solidarity for survivors, and as an immediate, intimate reminder in the bedroom. By educating people on how to speak up and prevent sexual violence, and by encouraging people to recognize sexual violence as their own issue, Assk will instil and increase social responsibility, and will breakdown stereotypes surrounding survivors of sexual assault.

potlux-logo-300x114

Potlux received a $5,000 seed grant from Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

Potlux, pictured on the screen, received a $5,000 seed grant from Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

Potlux (Brent Packer ’15, Aaron Rosen ’15, Jared Geilich ’15, Gerard Liu ’15, Keren Reichler ’16, Cassia Patel ’16, Ellen Paik ’16, and Gabe Frankel ’15)

Potlux is on track to be the first online community where collegiate sustainability initiatives are effectively aggregated and shared. The potential for this platform is huge: facilitating best practice movements across the college network, inspiring new ideas, building intercollegiate collaboration, and catalyzing project funding. Read an accompanying News @ Wesleyan story about Brent Packer and Potlux here.

The-Wesleyan-Doula-Project-logoThe Wesleyan Doula Project (Alexandra Stovicek ’17, Hannah Sokoloff-Rubin ’16, and Julia Vermeulen ’15)

The Wesleyan Doula Project is the only university-based doula project in the country.  As doulas, we provide emotional, physical, and informational support to women choosing to terminate their pregnancies at Connecticut Planned Parenthood clinics.  A student-run, volunteer collective, we are part of a greater movement to address growing inequalities in reproductive health care by advocating for reproductive choice at Wesleyan and within the broader community.

“These winners exemplify the spirit of innovation and impact shared by so many members if the Wesleyan community. Assk, Potlux, and The Wesleyan Doula Project follow in a long line of successful Wesleyan-connected social ventures — from SHOFCO to RefugePoint, Sustainable South Bronx to Musician Corps, and so many more,” said Makaela Kingsley ’98, director of the Patricelli Center. “They have well-designed business plans, address a clear need, and are led by star entrepreneurs.

Kingsley said this was an especially tough year for selecting grantees.

“The culture of entrepreneurship at Wesleyan is exploding, and we have so many talented students who are passionate about tackling the world’s pressing problems,” she said.

For more information about the PCSE Seed Grant Competition and other Patricelli Center programs, visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/patricelli.