Our blog is dedicated to facilitating the dialogue about social change and trends. Each entry, written by leaders and scholars on a diverse range of subjects, addresses the ways in which we function as both dreamers and doers—and our interconnectedness as a society.

The Artist and The Day Job

The Artist and The Day Job

Wherever your attention goes, that is the part of your life that grows larger, gets bigger, and creates momentum.   For almost ten years, I’ve worked as a makeup artist in addition to working on my painting and drawing practice.  I remember graduating from art school and wondering how  I was going to make enough for rent, groceries, etc. and going through a mental list of possible jobs.  While I sold artwork right out of college, it wasn’t enough to sustain a basic comfortable lifestyle.  I had several short lived positions: receptionist, waitress, graphic designer, gallery assistant, art teacher– many of these were consuming enough that when you went home for the evening, you had to either prepare for the next day or continue working on client projects.  I needed something I could leave at the door, that left energy for painting.  One day, I was walking by a makeup store when the idea came to me.  The hundreds of tiny shiny pots, brushes, pretty setups, aesthetic surroundings–was this so different than painting? 

Read more >
September 13, 20170
What Does it Mean to be a Woman?

What Does it Mean to be a Woman?

“Guess it’s just us two females hanging out in a crowd of just males once again.” This common phrase was jokingly uttered between Maya and I multiple times throughout our field research in India. Gender inequality is not a new concept to me; it is something I have become very conscious of every summer spent in India. Even though gender inequality exists in America, it is more apparent here in India. Everywhere men dominate public spaces while most women stay inside their houses. When we arrived to the rural areas to conduct our interviews with the end-beneficiaries, the men would crowd around us while the women would be outside their houses looking at us from afar.

Read more >
August 23, 20170
Why Hope Matters For Children And Families In Poverty

Why Hope Matters For Children And Families In Poverty

One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday afternoon is to go downtown to one of the community gathering places and watch children play in the interactive water fountain. I love to watch them run into the spouts and feel its force of energy as they splash around in the water. The run, they fall down, they get back up. When the fountain changes patterns and diminishes its force, the children giggling and jumping watch in hopeful anticipation of the water shooting up from the spout again. Not knowing when or where the next spray of water will be, the children look toward their parents or siblings for cues as to how to negotiate their next move.

Read more >
August 23, 20170
5 Reasons You Don’t Want to Miss The Ashoka U Exchange

5 Reasons You Don’t Want to Miss The Ashoka U Exchange

People don’t often believe me when I say that the very first Ashoka U conference in 2008 had 40 people sleeping in bunk beds and presenting around a campfire. Eight years later – just a few things have changed!
Today 700 people flock from across the globe to share ideas on how to turn colleges and universities into hubs of social innovation. And after years of convening innovators in changemaker education, we’ve learned what it takes to fuel this growing movement.
The 8th annual Ashoka U Exchange will be co-hosted by Babson College in Boston and will take place on April 5-7th, 2018. As we prepared to open our call for proposals on August 15th, I spent some time reflecting on the Exchange feedback I’ve heard from our community. Here are five reasons I heard that explain why people keep coming back year after year.

Read more >
August 23, 20170
Joy in Togo

Joy in Togo

This July, in partnership with a local Jesuit social ministry center in Togo, Miller Center co-sponsored the largest ever GSBI Boost workshop, providing training for 30 West African social entrepreneurs. This was the first Boost ever delivered in French, and the largest ever set of participants. It fulfilled a multi-year dream for a Jesuit friend of mine, Fr. Bossou Constant SJ, and was made possible with the inspiring leadership of a fantastic GSBI mentor, Jose Flahaux. Although I had a trivial role at the workshop, I was blessed to witness the joy of these two good colleagues in the field.

Read more>
August 23, 20170
4 Keys to Campus Wide Change

4 Keys to Campus Wide Change

It is infinitely harder to change what already exists rather than start from scratch.  This is especially true with long-entrenched cultures, and structures.
On the flip side, the potential for shifting resources within a large, well-respected institution can lead to results on a much larger scale than a start-up. This is the power and potential for leading change within an institutional context.

Read more >
August 9, 20170
The Benefits of Slacking Off

The Benefits of Slacking Off

I spend about five hours a day slacking off. Really: I spend that much time doing stuff I enjoy, that isn’t on a task list anywhere. I walk through the beautiful university campus near my house – during the workday. I cook for pleasure. I lay around on my daughter’s bed reading while she does her homework.
You’re probably thinking, “I could never do that!! Because I have to [insert 500 good reasons]!” Maybe you now believe that I am lazier and more pampered than you previously imagined.

Read more >
August 23, 20170
Saving Journalism: What Big Media Can Learn from Non-profits

Saving Journalism: What Big Media Can Learn from Non-profits

The reach of The Christian Science Monitor is relatively small among news organizations. But the place CSM has in the lives of its audience is the envy of much larger media players. “We have a very solid, loyal base of readers who will follow us through fire,” notes CSM associate publisher David Grant. He emphasizes that CSM’s readers include both church members and a wide readership beyond it.

Read more >
August 2, 20170
Mindfulness in the Classroom

Mindfulness in the Classroom

Students at Momentous School engage in mindful breathing at least three times a day. If you’re a teacher, right now you might be wondering how on earth we fit that in. (This is one of the most popular topics of conversation when people tour our school.)

Read more >
July 20, 20170
The Ripple Effect of Replication

The Ripple Effect of Replication

How do we define replication at Miller Center? An analogy for social enterprise replication is to imagine a rock thrown into a pond. Where the rock hits the water is the splash of a pioneering social enterprise technology or business model tackling a social problem. The growth of the original social enterprise or the adoption of the enterprise model are the ripples in the water.

Read more >
July 20, 20170
Providing a Bright Future For Rural Uganda

Providing a Bright Future For Rural Uganda

“If you pick fruit from a tree while menstruating, the tree will go barren.”
This notion is among many myths that primary school girls are taught in Uganda. Even as the girls advance to secondary school, they are shy to address beliefs that result in unsafe methods and that fail to protect them.

Read more >
June 15, 20170