This spring, Makaela Kingsley ’98, Director of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship and Adjunct Instructor in Public Policy, invited five fellow Wesleyan alumni to her course CSPL 262 “Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship” to discuss how they used artistic practice as a vehicle for social change.
In this course, Wesleyan students studied a social or environmental problem of their choosing and designed a hypothetical project to address that problem, thinking critically about how change happens, honing their activism, and building practical skills.
The guests speakers were Laura Stein ’03 of Dancing Grounds, a multigenerational arts space that brings inclusive and accessible dance programs to New Orleans residents; Chris Kaminstein ’04 of Goat in the Road Productions, a New Orleans-based performance ensemble; Vashti DuBois ’83 of The Colored Girls Museum in Philadelphia; Michael Lawrence-Riddell ’98 of The Self-Evident Platform, a digital humanities resource for educators of American history; and Melinda Weekes-Laidlow ’89 of Beautiful Ventures, which centers and supports creative and non-fiction writers who bring the nuanced complexities of Black life into popular culture and discourse.
From Makaela Kingsley:
“I had 24 students in the class this spring. Their feedback about the course showed that our alumni guests were very popular:
The visitors have been fantastic! I love seeing how broad social entrepreneurship is.
Despite the unfortunate circumstance [distance learning due to Covid-19], I enjoy watching the recorded lectures that were clear and structured into business theories and real experiences. The combination of the two optimizes the strategies from the speakers and allow us to apply them in our potential project.
The flow of the class has been smooth and engaging. The mix of conversations and ‘lecture’ makes participating asynchronously feel like I’m part of the class.
I really enjoy listening to stories from the guest presenters. It’s really inspiring to see what they’ve done but also great to have a group of ‘case-studies’ to draw from!
We’re lucky that it’s so easy to bring in guests, and I’m also super grateful to gain some sense of how to make something happen for myself now that I’m entering the real world.
Thanks again to the Creative Campus Initiative for making this possible!”