From February 28 to March 1, seven students and our advisor John Aidoo had the opportunity to attend the EWB Great Lakes Regional Spring Workshop at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. The two day conference included participants attending the 2015 Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship Summit, a dinner and discussion with members of other EWB chapters, and a Village Earth training session.
Club members spent the first day of the conference at the Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship Summit (APTE). The summit, which is held every year at Ohio State University, explores topics of social entrepreneurship in order to “educate and inspire future change makers.” This year’s summit featured seven speakers. First to present, setting the pace for the rest of the summit, was Jim Ziolkowski. Ziolkowski is the founder of BuildOn, an organization focused on empowering youth through service and breaking the cycle of poverty through education. He was followed by Jennifer Jin, an MIT Fellow, and Joe Degloss, the founder of Hot Chicken Takeover. Following lunch, the final four speakers presented, starting with Quijano Flores, the Co-founder of NextDrop. Next up was the inspirational Demetri Patitsas, the founder of Exela Ventures. Our chapter members learned a lot from his presentation including that “you can start making a difference before you’re 35” and “passion is what you are willing to struggle for.” The final two speakers of the summit were Bita Diomande, an MIT Fellow, and C. Nicolas Desrosiers, the Co-founder Qorax Energy. Our EWB members left the summit feeling inspired and with reassurance that each of us does of the ability to make an impact on the world.
Later that evening, students from EWB chapters across the Great Lakes Region met to discuss the APTE Summit. Chapters represented included the University of Toronto, Michigan Tech, Youngstown State and the University of Cincinnati. Our club members spent the evening sharing stories and ideas with each other about how to better connections between chapters, how to improve connections with our regional steering committee, and what members would like to see at the next workshop.
On Sunday, club members attended a Village Earth training session on community mobilization. The morning was spent learning about personal empowerment and the outcomes of promoting personal empowerment. Students also learned about the history of development through discussing the dependency and modernization theories. Despite being snowed in and having to remain in Columbus an extra evening, students learned a lot at the conference as well as bonded over exploring a college campus that is much larger than our small Rose-Hulman community.