This evening I had the pleasure of attending a Social Innovation Exchange event, hosted by the ASCent program out of Communitech. The program and tonight’s event are both aimed at fostering students with an interest in social entrepreneurship, and helping them to create companies aimed at advancing human health, prosperity, and happiness in this complex world.
Seeing the idealistic young students made me reflect back on my time in grad school with new eyes. I absorbed cynicism in those days like a sponge; critical analyzes in journal articles and the often hypocritical nature of academic research made me feel frustrated and out of touch with the real world. The students that I met at tonight’s event, however, had somehow managed to find positive energy at the thought of building a better local and global community. It is likely that they have read many of the same articles that I have, and taken the same classes. So why the difference in experience?
I think it comes down to a difference in mentorship and human interaction. In grad school, it is very easy to spend time with only your studies and ignore the goings-on of the people around you. The bright young students at tonight’s ASCent event found inspiration through mentors and their support networks. Their projects gained strength from the skills of multiple talented individuals working together. In essence, their hearts were open to new experience and growing through friendships.
Recognizing this made me feel very excited about the future, as I currently have a strong network of people which enrich and enhance my daily life and ideas. I forsee a lot of value coming out of the ASCent program and its affiliates. I found it to be a very inspirational event and can’t wait to see the further evolution of this program!