Attending the annual Social Enterprise Conference at Harvard University is an educational staple for Campbell Business students. Traditionally, approximately ten students fly to Boston with faculty to gain perspective from a variety of speakers. However, health protocols made the flight impossible in 2021.
While the pandemic has closed many doors, it has also opened others. This year, dozens of students attended virtually and engaged global business leaders from organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as from other students representing schools across the country.
The conference kicked off with a keynote on the power of entrepreneurship by Deval Patrick, former governor of Massachusetts. “I’m a capitalist,” Patrick said. “Out of the all the sectors, the private sector has the greatest capacity to innovate and create change.”
During the two-day experience, students and faculty chose between several simultaneous sessions that covered topics such as education technology, social justice, international development, mental health, venture capital, sustainable cities and philanthropy.
After the conference, Alemu Mercer, a senior economics major from Mallorca, Spain, said, “I’m glad my professor pushed us to go. It was amazing to learn how to serve, improve our community, and progress in the entrepreneurship world. One takeaway from me was how to adapt and create social innovation that keeps us continually finding other solutions together during this pandemic.”
“The most memorable part for me was not the content covered, although I feel I learned a lot,” said Samantha Egerton, a junior accounting major from Winterville, North Carolina. “I really enjoyed the connections I made with people watching just like me. I was able to connect with someone else from my university on LinkedIn. I also got to see names of people tuning in from all over the world, places like Kenya and India. It felt really special to be in one learning environment with people so close and so far away from me. We all had the same goal in mind — to learn about Social Entrepreneurship.”