This spring, the University of Arkansas’ Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation partnered with the Walton College’s Business Communication Lab to welcome to campus 21 students, ranging from 6th to 12th grade. As a part of the High School Social Innovation Initiative, students and faculty from the EAST Initiative and Noble Impact classrooms across the state have been working with U of A faculty and staff, ENACTUS student mentors and Business Communication Lab tutors to create solutions to social problems that they have identified within their communities.
The campus visit was the capstone event for a pilot program that began in October of 2018 with the goal of implementing the university’s social innovation curriculum into high school classrooms around the state. Students from the following high schools participated: Sheridan High School in Sheridan; eStem Public Charter School in Little Rock; Don Tyson School of Innovation in Springdale; Lamar High School in Lamar and Hope High School in Hope.
During the visit, the students attended writing and pitch workshops that showcased the outcomes of the work they had done during the program. Nathaniel Scallion, a Noble Impact student from eStem High School, said, “This was my favorite part of the weekend. It was great to get feedback and develop our projects that we’ve put so much work into.” Students also toured campus, met with the admissions and recruiting teams, and took a side trip to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
The weekend culminated in a collaborative pitch event, in which the students presented their solutions to community leaders, faculty and staff. They received valuable feedback that will help make their projects more viable, sustainable, and scalable—guiding principles of the university’s Social Innovation Initiative, which is led by Dr. Rogelio Garcia-Contreras.