Maxwell alumna Phaedra Stewart ’91 finds it difficult to look at the world without seeing opportunities to connect with people, raise their spirits and empower them to make their lives better. A self-described serial entrepreneur (some might say a serial…
Students Invited to Creatively Collaborate in Studio C
Students from all majors who are interested in civic engagement and social entrepreneurship are invited to creative gatherings to help generate ideas and teams for the social/nonprofit sector. Studio C, a place to collaborate, create and change, will host “Pizza, Inspiration and Ideation: Food for the Creative Mind” over the next two Fridays, Feb. 15 and 22, from 3-5 p.m. in the Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development, located on the fourth floor of The Warehouse.
The kick-off sessions will be followed by “March Madness” white-board sessions to turn those ideas into viable ventures that can compete for funding in the RvD IDEA program, as well as generate projects, products and services that advance community engagement.
The student-led initiative is the brainchild of Chris Guimarin, a major in communications design in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) and an IDEA Connector and Quinton Fletchall, a major in industrial and interaction design in VPA and president of the SU student chapter of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). Facilitating is Caitlin Moriarty, a graduate student in the Janklow Arts Leadership Program in the College of Arts and Science. Guimarin and Fletchall are both are working with the Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development this year, and Moriarty was a founding member of IDEA Connectors.
Working with the Syracuse University Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development, the initiative will generate ideas, build teams and provide mentorship support for community-based products, services and ventures, with a particular focus on the Connective Corridor and the Near Westside. The best ideas and projects will get space in Studio C—a new collaborative working space on the fourth floor of The Warehouse designed by civic engagement students for civic engagement students—a sort of civic engagement incubator. Students will also be able to compete for funding in the Social/Non-profit sector of the RvD IDEA Awards program. This year’s “Emerging Talk” on April 12-13, will award more than $150,000 to students with the best business ideas. The deadline for application is March 6. More information is available at: idea.syr.edu
Beyond competing for cash awards, Guimarin and Fletchall are hoping that the Studio C initiative will bring forth ideas for projects that will help students—and community members—in many ways: by building portfolio work, opening career doors, launching or supporting new community ventures or helping a local nonprofit or business.
Speaking at the launch will be Michael Rotella, a 2011 graduate of Syracuse University with a major in English and textual studies, about how he launched SyracuseGuru.com, a fast-growing social media site based on community building. Rotella will speak about building a venture with social value, and help frame a conversation about finding opportunities in the Syracuse community.
“I am excited about this as an opportunity for creating student and community interactions that not only improve the community, but also the lives of the students, adding a different dynamic to the college experience,” says Guimarin. “I see this as a means to break down barriers between the University and community in meaningful ways. As models of higher education are shifting, this adds another component to ways in which Syracuse is becoming a model and national leader in education and engagement.”
“Syracuse is a perfect canvas for this kind of initiative,” adds Moriarty. “It is the first step in an inclusive conversation about how people want to live and cross-collaboratively apply their skill sets to help execute a vision that is co-created by the people who live here. This is essential to creating a sense of ownership in the community, as well as creative place-making.”
“Design is turning into one of the most important aspects of this process,” notes Fletchall, “and this focus on public interest design will put a spotlight on Syracuse University’s strength in this discipline, as well as facilitate a community design process that will also produce professional results that will add to the value of a degree. This is my fifth year living in Syracuse, and over the years I have taken a liking to the city. The longer that I stay in the city, the more I keep discovering how much Syracuse has to offer. To me, one of the greatest things about the Connective Corridor is the effort that they are putting forward to connect the people of Syracuse into what the city has to offer in terms of opportunities.”
Fletchall and Guimarin collaborated on the design of the new Studio C space on the fourth floor of the Warehouse.
“Studio C is an innovative student-led initiative that brings multi-disciplinary teams together around engagement and entrepreneurship,” says Linda Hartsock, Syracuse University Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development and a member of the RvD IDEA Board. “Pairing them with SU alumni and community leaders who have launched successful civic ventures will provide inspiration and mentorship as they help develop community-based projects, products and services.”
“Most people think of for-profit businesses when they hear the term ‘entrepreneurship’,” says Stacey Keefe, executive director of the RvD IDEA. “Studio C is an innovative way to spread excitement around social entrepreneurship and to bring together students from different disciplines to generate ideas.”