Since our December newsletter, it’s been busy in the GSSE program. I thought I’d use this space to answer a few questions that have come from our friends and alumni.
Q1: I hear you have changed the venture process – why and how? What are the C9 teams doing?
A1: This isn’t the first time we have changed the venture process – we continue to revise it based on effectiveness in meeting learning objectives, and feedback from students, faculty and project partners. This most recent change was based on two things:
- providing more time to dig deeper on global challenges and work with more potential team mates, and
- reducing student work/stress loads in the first semester.
For C9 & C10, we now spend more time studying global challenges before selecting venture topics and teams at the beginning of the second semester. The summer field work task has shifted from validating a business model conceived in Fort Collins to discovering several potential business models in the field. In the final semester, students take Tom Dean’s venture class and develop a business plan around one of those models. After trying this for two cohorts, we will evaluate whether we are seeing improved learning, stronger venture team experiences, and better venture/partner performance.
As for C9 ventures, there are eight teams, all framed around “How might we…?”:
- reduce waste and consumption (USA/Ecuador)
- provide training and work for unemployed youth (Caribbean)
- improve the quality of life for the elderly (USA)
- provide more effective high school education (Cambodia)
- improve access to reliable electricity (East Africa)
- reduce greenhouse gas emissions (Indonesia)
- provide a closer connection between farmers and consumers (Guatemala)
- provide affordable, sustainable building materials (East Africa)
Once exams were finished in May, there was a rush to DIA as teams were eager to get out of the classroom and into the field. We are enjoying following their progress via their blog posts from the field. For those of you in Colorado, you are welcome to hear their presentations from 1-4pm on August 31 in the Bohemian Auditorium.
Q2: As an alum, I am getting asked to donate to GSSE. Yet I have very little money to give. What difference could my $25 possibly make? Why should I bother?
A2: These are good questions, and important ones for our program. And the short answer is that by itself, $25 will not make any real dent in the financial needs for the program. However, as I hope you experienced during the program, there is great power in the GSSE tribe. If everyone in your cohort gave at least $25, and all the other cohorts gave, the number will become more significant:
165 graduates x $25 = $4,125
[and, this amount is matched 1:1 for any donations in 2016!]
More importantly, it is a signal to other donors: high alumni and faculty participation indicates support and engagement from those who know GSSE best. It is people showing up. Why would a larger potential donor want to support something that its graduates do not? Please consider making a donation to support the program. Believe me, it will help us find additional financial support for the program.
In addition, I’d like to ask you to get engaged with our current students. Please think about how someone with your current skills/experience could have helped the “student you” while you were in the program. Then reach out to Kat or one of your favorite faculty members and offer to help (e.g., as a team mentor, providing a helpful webinar, or setting up an informational interview). We want the GSSE community to be a big, strong, and impactful one, and your personal involvement will help with that. My experience is that GSSE’rs show up when asked, and I am asking you to show up more in the next year! Let’s keep building a stronger program together.
Q3: Speaking of showing up, isn’t the 10th anniversary of the program coming up? Are we going to celebrate?
A3: Of course! Look for info from Grace Hanley Wright (C6) coming soon. And hold Labor Day Weekend, September 1-4, 2017.
Wherever you are, do good, be great at it, and stay in touch,