Rollins Senior, Tori Linder, Talks about her time in Rwanda

Tori Linder Rwana

Tori Linder c/0 2014 helping her village neighbor mend grass matts.

9 weeks in the the Land of a Thousand Hills…

As a Political Science and Sustainable Development major, Rwanda had always been of interest to me. I spent some time studying the 1994 genocide while at Rollins and was struck by the nation’s drive to not only rebuild, but to progress at a staggering rate. Last spring when I learned the Rollins’ SESi Department was providing scholarships to attend the ThinkImpact Institute in rural Africa, I decided to apply on a whim.

Much to my surprise I was accepted and before I knew it I was boarding a flight to this tiny Central African nation. I spent a total of 9 weeks living in the rural Rwandan village of Bwana as a scholar with the ThinkImpact Institute. The ThinkImpact Institute is an immersion experience for university students and young professionals interested in social entrepreneurship. We lived with families in the village, fully engaging ourselves in the local culture and way of life. Rising with the sun each day, our mission was to aid community members in developing self-sustaining small business that would thrive in the communities for years to come.

Bwana-scholarsI  worked with a Georgetown student and ten village members to launch a social enterprise fighting the community’s high rate of malnutrition. The team decided the best way to do this was to introduce a new nutrient rich food, oyster mushrooms! (Oyster mushrooms are loaded with vital vitamins and possess high levels of protein.) We taught our team of ten how to cultivate these oyster mushrooms, created a marketing plan, and introduced nutrition education in the village. By the end of our stay, Twitse Imbere was off the ground and receiving high reviews from the local government.

"The people of Bwana taught me far more about life then I could have ever taught them about creating a social enterprise."

Tori with Georgetown student, Judy Choi, and Twitse Imbere design team members.

It wasn’t until we were leaving that I realized the true value of our work in Rwanda. One of the quiet members of our team, Valentine, was absolutely balling as we said goodbye. I asked her what was wrong, shocked to see such a strong emotional response from a shy woman. She told me that as a genocide widow, this summer was the first time she felt validated in her community. I looked at her and realized the people of Bwana had taught me far more about life,  community, faith, and presence then I could have ever taught them about business.

Tori Linder


Tori Linder c/o 2014 is Political Science & Sustainability Development major. She is a Student Coordinator for the SESi office and Chair of the Rollins Net Impact chapter. Tori has studied abroad in four countries.


Mini-Consulting Case Connected Ashoka Fellows with Students

ashoka fellows collage

Every year the Americas Business Council gathers the best social entrepreneurs and changemakers from around the world to attend their abc* Community Forum. The highlight of this event is the speaker contest, where pre-selected entrepreneurs pitch their organizations before the council for the chance to win two years of funding as well as free advisory, media, and marketing support.
Needless to say, competition for this prize is fierce. A speaker needs an exceptional presentation to even capture the attention of the judges. However, many social entrepreneurs do not have the public speaking experience or the technical skills necessary to create something truly eye-catching. That is where the Rollins students come in.
A year ago Rollins students Brock Monroe, Courtney Banker, Shelby McGuire, Erin Mullen and McKenzi Vanderberg attended the abc* Community Forum. They realized that many of the speakers had amazing, potentially world changing ideas, but they were having trouble communicating them. Rollins students on the other hand have years of practice with making slideshows and presenting. Therefore a partnership was formed.

As a Changemaker Campus, Rollins has close ties to the Ashoka Fellow program which identifies some of the most innovative social entrepreneurs around the world. This year, 23 Ashoka Fellows are planning to attend the abc* Community Forum and compete for the prize. SESi (Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Initiative) reached out to them, asking if they be interested in the assistance of a Rollins undergraduate helping with their presentation. Eighteen responded, thrilled to have the students’ help.

Originally, each fellow was to be assigned a single student, but the outpouring from Rollins was so great, that each Fellow was given a team of two or three students. The student teams were then given the challenge of making engaging presentations, and only had three weeks to complete the work. The project was dubbed the Mini-Consulting Case for its short time frame.

Many obstacles had to be overcome in order for the presentations to be a success. The main challenge was that all the fellows lived outside of Orlando; in fact most were many were outside of the US and lived in different time zones. Students had to meet their client through online video conferencing. Additionally, many students had to work as both creative consultant and translator for the Ashoka fellows who only spoke Spanish or Portuguese. No matter the challenges, all the student teams were able to present their fellow an exceptional finished product. Many of the teams even took the project a step farther by using Prezi instead of simple PowerPoint slides.

The Ashoka fellows will present at abc* Community Forum on November 6th and 7th. As a special thank you from the SESi office, two students will be selected to attend the conference free of charge. There students can meet the Ashoka Fellows face-to-face and see their presentations live on a stage.

Rollins Students Use Crowdfunding for Social Good

While other students are using their summer vacations as a chance to take it easy, these Rollins students are raising $15,000 to send five orphan girls in rural Nepal to school.

MLB primary school nepal


Making Lives Better (MLB) is a student-led organization founded in 2009 at Rollins College. Its mission is to improve the lives of people in rural communities around the world in the impact areas of health and education.

Erin Bioso MLB

Erin Bioso, MLB president, with students in Nepal.

In its four years, MLB has already raised over $75,000 for education, health services and water purification. The organization has also sent four different groups of Rollins students on service trips to rural Nepal. Chapter president Erin Brioso estimates they have touched the lives of over 10,000 people, and they are only getting started!

This year MLB has set a goal to raise $15,000 before the end of summer. This money will pay for the education of five orphaned girls next year. In order to make this goal a reality, the group is turning to a new and increasingly popular type of fundraising called crowdfunding.

“Every year we hold three large fundraisers, but that simply is not enough anymore,” says Erin. “Crowdfunding will give us a way to reach more donors including those students who have left Winter Park for the summer.”

Besides providing a simple online platform for collecting donations, crowdfunding has fun and unique options of recognition of gift giving.  For example, anyone who donates $10 or more to MLB will get a shout out at their next event, anyone who donates $50 or more is entitled to a free customized t-shirt, and so on.

Help MLB reach their $15,000 goal to make lives better for five young Nepalese women. Donate to Making Lives Better online by July 15, 2013 or email MLB to learn about other ways to contribute.

MLB back of tshirts

Rollins students at the end of a service trip for Making Lives Better


Rollins Student Meets Muhmmad Yunus

The six students who participated in the international Clinton Global Initiative University Conference  this year have come back to campus with stories of success and inspiration.

Muhammad Yunus

Emily Sessom c/o 13 with Nobel winner Muhammad Yunus

The CGIU Conference is an annual event where college students from all over the world gather to discuss ideas for bringing about real, sustainable change to issues such as poverty, human rights and climate change. This year the event was held at St. Louis and attracted students and speakers from across the globe. Rollins senior Emily Susson had a chance to meet one of these guest speakers, Noble Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, economist, author and founder of Garmeen Bank, the first microfinance banking institution which services thousands of poor women in rural, developing countries. Here is Emily’s story in her own words:

I would have to say this CGIU was a pretty big highlight of my senior year here at Rollins.  This is my second time attending and just like the first time, I met many inspirational and impressive students who are making incredible strides in fighting social injustices.  But the greatest moment of the weekend was meeting Muhammad Yunus, a man whose book [Banker to the Poor] changed my life two years ago in Dan Chong’s class, Third World Politics, and subsequently completely altered my academic and career path.  I had always been a huge fan of microfinancing, but Yunus’s work beyond that field made me pursue other interests in social entrepreneurship and ways of fulfilling human rights, such as permaculture and natural building, three things I have studied both within and outside of Rollins (in Brazil twice and Oregon).  Meeting him was unexpected and just the perfect way to complete my final semester.

Aside from this, I was able to connect with many other wonderful students with potential collaborations in the future with natural building and permaculture in addressing the human right to food, water, shelter, the environment, and dignity.




Rollins Sends Six to CGIU Conference

Photo reserved Clinton Global Initiative

Photo reserved Clinton Global Initiative

Last year Rollins was honored to send three students to the Clinton Global Initiative University conference on creating new, innovative ideas that solve social and environmental issues. This year Rollins is thrilled to be sending a delegation of six students.

This group is made up of some of Rollins best young social entrepreneurs, who have plans in place to improve the world through their own nonprofit startups.  A total of 14 Rollins students applied to the conference, the highest in the schools history. However, CGUI can only accept 1200 students every year, which is why it is so exciting  to have six students coming from a single university.

So, let’s meet this year’s Rollins CGUI Attendees!

NAME: Raghabendra KC
FOCUS: Public Health

Raghabendra KCK.C. is co-founder of Making Lives Better a student run organization that provides clean drinking water, school supplies, healthcare, and education to children in rural Nepal. This is his second year attending CGIU and he is also our campus rep.



MichalaNAME: Michaela O’Driscoll
FOCUS: Education

Every child wants a pen pal. Impoverished children living in Orlando now will have Rollins college students to write and mentor them through a new student organization Rollins Pen Pals lead by this A&S student.


NAME: Emily Sessom
FOCUS: Environmentalism

emilyWhat if we could build houses, stores and office buildings with limited effect on the environment? That is the idea behind this Rollins senior commitment for impactful environmental change.


NAME: 4Girls
FOCUS: Education

4Girls is a new international organization with aims of empowering young women in impoverished countries through after-school programs. It is led by A&S students Kelsey Uhl, Emmalee Clinger, Shelby McGuire, and Katrina Zdanowicz.



Social Entrepreneurship and Its Principles

What Social Entrepreneurship Is and Isn’t

What is social entrepreneurship? This is a question we here at the Rollins Office of Social Entrepreneurship and Suitability Initiative (SESi) get asked nearly every day. In order to define the term, maybe it would be easier to first define what it is not.

Social Entrepreneurship is not the same thing as corporate responsibility, philanthropy, or volunteerism[i]. It cannot be adopted as part of a marketing or public relationship strategy, but instead needs to be a pure and relentless pursuit of changing the world.  There is no one definition for social entrepreneurship, but it is typically taken to mean applying entrepreneurship principles to address the social and environmental issues of today. They are the worlds change agents[ii] Here at Rollins College we define it as empowering social change through innovation and sustainability.


Bill Drayton popularized the phrase “social entrepreneurship” some 20 years ago when founding Asoka, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering social innovation worldwide[iii].   Drayton was a professor at both Stanford and Harvard University. He was also the assistant administrator of Environmental Protection Agency EPA before starting Ashoka. To quote Drayton, “Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry[iv].”

However, social entrepreneurship can be traced much back farther than Drayton and Ashoka. In the landmark book How to Change the World, author David Bornstein profiled ten individuals he saw as embodiment of concepts of social entrepreneurs. His list included Florence Nightingale who he credited in revolutionizing hospital care[v].

Rollins Collge is partners with Ashoka U in an effort to introduce students to the field of social entrepreneurship and in 2012 was named an official Changemaker Campus. This designation places Rollins among only 16 colleges nationally (and the first in Florida) that have received this recognition

What is an Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurs aren’t restricted to businesses. Business writer Peter Druker described an entrepreneur as someone who actively searches for change, responds to it, and sees change as an opportunity[vi].The Red Cross, Sierra Club, even the United States Government can be said to have been started by entrepreneurial leaders. Duke University Professor J. Gegory Dees teaches that social entrepreneurs play the role of change agents in society by adopting the following six principles[vi]:

  • Adopting a mission to create and sustain social value, not just private value
  • Recognizing and relentlessly pursuing new opportunities to serve that mission
  • Engaging in a process of continuous innovation, adaptation, and learning
  • Acting boldly without being limited by resources currently in hand
  • Exhibiting heightened accountability to the constituencies served and for the outcomes created
  • Technical expertise such as personnel management, fund raising, copyrights, and so on

As you can see social entrepreneurship has less to do with business and more to do with courage and passion. Rollins College is proud to be a leader in this emerging field bring about real, impactful change to the world.


[i]Duke University Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (n.d.). What is Social Entrepreneurship? Retrieved on February 22, 2013 from

[ii]Thompson, J.L., The World of the Social Entrepreneur, The International Journal of Public Sector Management, 15(4/5), 2002, p.413

[iii]Skull Foundation. (n.d.) What is social entrepreneurship?

[iv]Bornstein, D. (2007). How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Updated Edition. New York: Oxford University Press.

[v]Ashoka (1/15/2012) Celebrate Global Entreprenurship Week with Quotes from the Man who Coined the Term Social Entrepreneur. Retrieved February 27, 2013 from

[vi]Holden, Jeanne (2007). Principles of Entrepreneurship. Clark, George & Neely, Midlred (Eds.). Washington: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Information Programs. Retrieved on February 20, 2013 at

[vii]Dees, J. Gregory. (5/30/2001). The Meaning of “Social Entrepreneurship”. Retrieved February 20, 2013 from


Rollins Hosts Ashoka U Faculty Institute

On February 8th and 9th, Rollins College hosted an Ashoka U Faculty Institute. This 2-day event brought together 50 faculty members to discuss ways to teach social entrepreneurship in the college classroom.

Marina Kim Ashoka

Marina Kim, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Ashoka

Why did Rollins staff and faculty decide to take time out of their busy schedules to volunteer to host such an event? Because of the students. According to an on-campus survey, 86% of Rollins students say they want to learn more about social entrepreneurship. Rollins College is also one of 16 universities to be awarded the designation Changemaker Campus from Ashoka U and the first to do so in Florida.

Of the 50 faculty members in attendance, there was representation from a wide variety of disciplines including Anthropology,  Environmental Studies, Economics, Math, Medieval Literature, Chemistry, International Business and Sociology.  Also in attendee was Dr. Max Martin and Marina Kim from Ashoka.  Martin is the Faculty-in-Residence for Ashoka U and Kim is Executive Director and co-fonder with Bill  Drayton.  Rollins Provost Carol Brenahan provided the opening address.

Dr. Max Martin of Ashoka

Dr. Max Martin describes social entrepreneurship to a gathering of faculty.

Other highlights from the event included a Social Entrepreneurship Clinic where the floor was opened to questions. Attendees asked a range of questions, from what are some key case-studies their classes should read to what are the best ways to promote self-discovery among students. There were also break-out sessions for various professors and work groups.

“It was a great experience,” said Chrissy Garton, Director of Social Innovation.
“It shows that social entrepreneurship has really taken root at Rollins.”




Rollins Students Prepares to Pitch Ideas for Change

Rollins students prepare for CGIU. This annual conference gathers together young adults from across the globe to talk about social change. Teams of students pitch their ideas for change to a distinguished panel of social entrepreneurs, philanthropists and governmental leaders. The best ideas are given grants to start up their organization.

CGIU 2012

Raghabendra KC ’13 and Aditya Mahara ’12 at CGIU Conference

Last year Raghabendra K.C. won the competition at Clinton Global Initiative University Conference.  This year he’s coaching other students as the school’s CGIU Campus Representative. Students have other resources to turn to as well, including the Idea Coaching Center through SESi, where students can have their ideas heard by experts on campus.This year Rollins College has eight team applying for entry into CGUI.  Not all applicants are selected. However, this has not deterred students like Kelsey Uhl, class of 2015, who is leading a team in the competition.


4Girls brainstorm during an Idea Coaching session

Kelsey is like any other student at Rollins. She is active in her sorority Kapa Delta and a Resident Adviser for first-year students at Rex Beach Hall.  Kelsey is in a CGIU team with three other Rollins students: Emma-Lee Clinger, Shelby McGuire,  also c/o ’15, and Katrina Zdanowicz c/o ’16. The team is champing an idea they are calling 4Girls. Their vision is to empower young women in impoverished cities worldwide through after-school programs  grounded in pillars of education, confidence and personal growth.  Local school teachers will lead these girls in fun and educational activities that meet the culture and need of the specific country.  Costs would be covered in part by selling handicrafts, similar to how the Girl Scout of America sell their Girl Scout Cookies. 4Girls is just one of the innovative ideas to come out of this year’s group of CGIU applicants.

To learn more about CGUI at Rollins College please contact


Anna Montoya ’13 on Social Entrepreneurship

anna montoya

Anna Montoya, Class of  2013

Anna Montoya, class of 2013, recently sat down with Laura J. Cole, editor of the Rollins Magazine. Anna has been involved with HCC in Apopka, was instrumental in bringing Changemaker Day to Rollins and is a team member for the SESi department.  She talked to Laura about how she discovered the field of social entrepreneurship and her future plans upon graduating this May. 

Laura Cole: What made you want to become so involved?

Anna Montoya: Getting involved never felt like something that I had to do in order to build up my resume. Rather, I got involved because I was interested to learn more about the world and my own community as well as to gain skills that you can’t always get in the classroom. On a personal level, coming from an immigrant background, I always understood the value of opportunities. Coming to a place like Rollins, I had so many options for my involvement and the beauty of college is that you can explore many new avenues. For example, upon starting college I had a completely different vision for what I would be doing once I would graduate four years later. Now, as I am preparing for my graduation in May, I look back at my experiences and can clearly see the evolution that has occurred as a result of my involvement.

LC: Why social entrepreneurship?

Mayan Hope

I first learned about social entrepreneurship during my sophomore year. Up until that point, I had very little understanding about business and had not foreseen this as a possible career path for my future. Little did I know that social entrepreneurship would become a large part of my life over the next few years. What I didn’t understand then is that social entrepreneurship goes beyond traditional notions of business as solely focused on generation of profit; it’s also about character, passion, and leadership. I think social entrepreneurship offers a unique opportunity to apply business models that holistically integrate the individual and the community, with a focus on developing, or improving, societies around the world. What I have found most appealing about social entrepreneurship is the possibility to make a lasting difference. In my past experience with NGO’s and aid organizations, these models have not always provided a sustainable means for supporting individuals. The scope of NGO projects is strongly affected by level of government support and funding. Whereas, a social enterprise is able to generate it’s own revenue that is then reinvested into the products and services that they provide. The last point that I would like to make is that social entrepreneurship is a means for empowerment. When I was in Guatemala this summer, I saw firsthand how local women became economically empowered through their work with the social enterprise. They were able to generate an income as well as make a contribution to their community.

LC: What are you doing in social entrepreneurship?

AM:I will divide this section up into my current/ upcoming and past projects. I was involved with the Changemaker Campus initiative over the last few years, that lead to Rollins’ designation as a changemaker campus. I also went abroad to London earlier this year, where I was working on a social enterprise project as part of my program. This summer I continue my journey to Guatemala where I interned with a locally-based social enterprise, soluciones comunitarias, part of the Social Entrepreneur Corps program and learned about a business model called MicroConsignment. Now that I am back at Rollins, I will be completing an internship in the Office of Advanced Entrepreneurship. As far as my future plans go, I’m looking into graduate school that would allow me to pursue social entrepreneurship on an international level.

LC: How has Rollins supported you on your journey?

Anna MontoyaAM: I wouldn’t be where I am today without good mentors and the support and resources that Rollins has provided me over the years. I had gotten involved in social entrepreneurship during my sophomore year because Micki Meyer, in the Office of Community Engagement, had recommended me to go on a conference with Crummer/ Office of Advanced Entrepreneurship. I remember not being able to understand why I had been chosen to attend when I had no idea what social entrepreneurship was at the time. But that was a seed that was planted in my mind that has been flourishing since.

Raghabendra KC ’13 Champions Clean Drinking Water in Nepal

Raghabendra KC
Congratulation to Raghabendra KC, class of 2013, for his recent recognition in Rollins Magazine for his dedication to the issue of health and global poverty. KC leads the Mission Aqua program that has already provided over 500 school children in rural villages in Nepal with clean, safe drinking water. KC and his team are true changemarkers, working tirelessly to find creative, sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. To read more about KC and his journey, we encourage you to read the recent article in Rollins Magazine by Laura Cole titled “A Beautiful Mind.”