Back at Pacific

I think that instead of posting these with titles, they are all going to be headed by  apologizes for their lateness. When my blog is mentioned, I joke that according to it I am still in the Middle East.  So finally, again, here is my update as to my actual location and current doings.

I am back in Stockon, completing my final year of International Relations and Global Studies in the School of International Studies at the University of the Pacific. I came home from the Middle East on June 15, spent some quality time with my family, enjoyed the beauty of Carmel and then headed up here around mid august.

At Pacific I am doing a couple of things that I would like to mention. One is the result of a certain election that I posted on Facebook and then never followed up with, maybe leaving some people curious as to the outcome. Well, this year I am the President of the Council of University Social Entrepreneurs. This is the student arm of the Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship based out of the University of the Pacific. So before I go any further let me explain social entrepreneurship. Although this is a discussion worth a whole post (and more) it is something that is new to most and thus  seems complicated and leads to a lot of confusion as to what I am actually doing with my life. Social entrepreneurship is about using proven business skills and strategies, combining them with a cultural understanding and holistic perspective in order to target social needs (poverty, diseases, infant mortality, war, substance abuse, violence and on and on.) It is about bringing accountability and measurement to a world that has been traditionally filled with faith that something will get done. Social entrepreneurship is breaking away from the traditional hierarchies and paradigms of charity and development and is creating a new system of ideas that uses resources that already exist, knowledge that is already out there, engagement of the end user or person that has a need and adding a whole lot of creativity and risk taking to make sure that those that have been traditionally overlooked get a say in the large scale changes happening and affecting their lives.  Instead of profit as the measurement of success, as in regular entrepreneurship, profit is combined with a social impact measurement (and sometimes environmental) to really assess that success of a social venture or initiative.

If you would like to check out more about social entrepreneurship here are a few websites:

http://www.skollfoundation.org/

http://www.ashoka.org/

www.Globalctr.org

So there is my way too short explanation of social entrepreneurship, now more about Pacific. The Council of University Social Entrepreneurs is a student led organization that is made up of students from all nine schools here at Pacific, graduate and undergraduate. We work to spread knowledge and information about social entrepreneurship as well as promote student involvement in social entrepreneurial organizations in the Stockton community and around the world. We do lots more but I’ll get to that in the future.

The other program that I am involved in is the Integrated Development Program (IDP). It is also based out of the Global Center and is made up of 10 undergrad and grad students. We are a student run (currently) pro bono consultancy and development group for non profit and for profit social ventures at home in the United States as well as abroad. We are currently working with an organization in Stockton which works with at risk gang involved youth. They have set up a program to teach these youth about other options, do counseling with them, their parents, teachers, school systems and more, using a more holistic approach to giving Stockton youth stuck in the gang culture another chance. We are working with them to develop a new marketing strategy, business and action plan as well as impact measurement criteria.  Here is there website (which was created by IDP last year, there first year and will be revamped and updated soon):  http://apantli.org/

The other organization we will be working for is the Maharishi Institute in South Africa.  “The Maharishi Institute was created in 2007 to take accessible tertiary education to another level, to showcase South Africa as a leading innovator in education provision, and create a worldwide breakthrough using the approach of Consciousness-Based Education.” They have been very successful and I am looking forward to working with them. We also are receiving applications from other organizations and will choose one or two more to work with.

This program is exciting to me for a variety of reasons. One is that it provides me with the professional and experiential education that I need to prepare myself for life after graduation. It is student led but it is run as a fully professional organization, which means we are achieving real impact and hold real responsibility. It is also exciting to see the education that we have at Pacific shared with the wider community. Students need experience and the community needs access to the knowledge, we both benefit in an amazing way.

In order to not extend this any longer I will wrap up. This is where I am and a brief on what I am doing. I hope to continue to share, this is my way of saying thank you to all those that have helped me get to where I am today and it is the least I can do. I hope to soon write a little bit about my past year in the Middle East, a conclusion to a wonderful year , that again I want to say THANK YOU to Rotarian’s and friends that made that and all that I do, possible.

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