Ashoka Canada is excited to announce that Wilfrid Laurier University will join Ashoka's consortium of 37 Changemaker Campuses around the world, and Ryerson University as one of two Changemaker Campuses in Canada.
The university initiative of Ashoka, called Ashoka U, has been selecting Changemaker Campuses since 2008 in an effort to demonstrate that a more entrepreneurial, innovative, and world-changing higher education sector is possible. Wilfrid Laurier University is joining campuses across seven countries that are leading social entrepreneurship in higher education and has been recognized for it’s innovative model of authentic community engagement.
Wilfrid Laurier University has a long history of community engagement that provides a natural foundation for building an authentic campus-wide culture of social innovation. It is clear that the guiding statement at Laurier, “Inspiring lives of leadership and purpose,” is woven into the fabric of the campuses. The University’s student-centered culture paired with innovative learning opportunities empowers students to deepen their engagement with social and environmental challenges. Laurier encourages students to get involved and provides many pathways to become active. For instance, more than 175 student clubs and over 70% of the upper-classmen are highly engaged in the community, Student entrepreneurs can find support and resources in programs like Laurier’s Social Innovation Zones and LaunchPad, which provide collaborative workspaces free of charge for student ventures.
Wilfrid Laurier University is also deeply engaged with the local community around the Waterloo and Brantford campuses. "Laurier seeks to foster cultural exchange and understanding between Laurier, the Kitchener-Waterloo and Brantford communities, and indigenous communities” said Sarah-Marie Hopf, the Ashoka U Campus Partnerships Manager. “During our time on campus, we were particularly excited to learn about Laurier’s innovative partnerships with the city of Brantford and community organizations. We were also very impressed with how Laurier was integrating indigenous issues and knowledge systems into a variety of experiential programming and physical spaces on campus." It is clear that Laurier will be a significant asset to the Changemaker Campus network globally, and to the social innovation community across Canada.