Social impact comes from innovation and at UB, we are committed to fostering that process. By taking a transdisciplinary approach, we can find solutions to some of the most pressing issues in society.
The Social Impact Fellows internship program takes students from the schools of management, social work and arts and sciences, assigning them to a different organization in Western New York where they can enact social innovation. Teams work together to create different and better solutions, learning how to work toward social change, how to pitch and create buy in. It shows students that we have to come together to make this work.
Our entire community benefits from this structure, from students, who are learning to solve problems and collaborate, to community organizations, that benefit from programs designed to meet their needs. UB understands that a broader lens is required to find bold solutions and the Social Impact Fellows program tasks graduate students from different schools to work together and put ideas into action.
“Buffalo is going to have a continued renaissance, but for it to be sustained and for us to lift all boats, it’s going to take people thinking differently,” said Sheri Scavone, CEO of the Western New York Women’s Foundation. “The marriage of disciplines, or transdisciplinary approach, of this fellowship is a great opportunity to bring lots of minds to the table.”
In this summer-long program, students are coming to the table with solutions that are different and better than what has previously been accepted. Many of the organizations that students are paired with have faced problems for years and a fresh perspective can make a world of difference. Giving scholars the opportunity to work together to solve these complex obstacles prepares them for their own futures as leaders.
Karlie Lawson, MSW/MPH candidate, Jesse Orrange, Humanities Master’s Candidate and Sydney March, BS ’20 and MBA Candidate, worked together in the Social Impact Fellowship program to find solutions to childcare and reimagine what is possible for families. Now, more than ever there is a need for childcare that is often not recognized. These fellows worked to fit the parameters of the program to the Western New York Women’s Foundation.
By seeking solutions routed in their own disciplines, the fellows learned from each other, and by examining the socioeconomic impact of childcare, the fellowship cohort worked together to find ways to enact change through business. Social entrepreneurship helps students focus on self-sustaining solutions that benefit a wide range of community members. This project gives organizations the solutions to keep their doors open. “Being part of a business gives you the opportunity to be a part of that change,” said March. “Use it.”
Your investment in UB will make a difference for a cause that matters to you: whether you make a gift to the UB Fund, support a scholarship for one UB student, sustain the work of a professor who will inspire thousands, or fund a cancer cure that saves the lives of millions. Every gift counts!