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Leadership for Social Good Study Abroad Program

Eastern Europe Study Abroad Program: Blog

Archive of 2012 Blog Entries

During the 2012 Summer Program, Leadership and Social Innovation, we partnered with leading social enterprises to provide our students hands-on knowledge of the third sector.  

Working with these organizations (in addition to the knowledge gained through the lectures and numerous site visits) enabled our students to better understand the managerial challenges and opportunities nonprofits face in their day to day operations. Through their work with these organizations GT students as a group contributed a total of 225 service hours enhancing the capacity of our partners to better serve their mission.

These missions are very diverse – ranging from providing quality recreation to sick children to preserving the biodiversity of our planet – showing the wide scope of social entrepreneurship to solve problems that can’t be addressed by business or governments alone. We believe that having our students exposed to these issues- that are just as relevant on local and national level, as they are in a wider, global context –is central  to Tech’s strategic objective: to expand our students’ understanding of global issues and to graduate students for whom entrepreneurship and public service are fundamental characteristics.

These are the summaries of some of the most interesting projects GT students worked on this summer:

Project #1

CEEweb for Biodiversity (http://www.ceeweb.org/)

Student participant: Tanay Rajore (ISYE)

Founded in 1994 (with EU funding) CEEweb is the only network in operation which has been set up and run by nature conservation NGOs in Central and Eastern Europe. The mission of CEEweb is the conservation of biodiversity through the promotion of sustainable development.
CEEweb works through advocacy, lobbying, capacity building, networking, and raising awareness.

Assignment:

 To assist with organizing workshops and street campaigns on biodiversity. To develop promotional material for video contest. To observe the organization and brainstorm with staff about possible improvements to their processes.

Student’s Report:

Tanay created and proposed a new project management chart to CEEweb. The chart will help them solve managerial issues related to long term projects. It will track the progress of each task related to every project. Tanay presented his recommendations to the CEEweb leadership, who adopted those on their  current project,  the “ Go Green Fest”, a short video contest to encourage bio diversity conservation.

“I learned a lot through my internship. I learned about the main differences between working  in Europe and the United States- especially the communication barriers when working with people who speak another language. I also learned a lot about the environmental policies and about how NGOs are making efforts to reduce the carbon footprint. I thoroughly enjoyed working at CEEweb and only wished that I could work with them for a longer period.”

 

 

Project #2

Bátor Tábor  - Hole in the Wall Camps (http://www.batortabor.hu/eng/what_is_bator_tabor-65/introduction-72)

Student participant: LaCourtney Underwood

Bátor Tábor was established in 2001, and offers complex therapeutic recreation programs for children with cancer, diabetes, JRA or haemophilia and for their families. In the summer Children’s Camps, in the spring and fall Family Camps and Sibling Camps are offered free of charge to the campers and their families. Bátor Tábor is a member of the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps that began more than 20 years ago by the Academy Award winning actor, Paul Newman. The international camp association has 11 members all over the world treating children with chronic illnesses through a method, called therapeutic recreation.

Assignment:

To research international funding sources for the organization. To assist with donor database development that will allow the organization to efficiently communicate with its supporters.

Student’s Report:

LaCourtney contributed to various projects during her internship. This way she gained a good understanding of the different aspects of how a successful non-profit operates on a daily basis.

“Over the course of this program, one thing I have learned is the importance of strategy in organizations. Having a personal relationship with each donor is an essential aspect of the way this organization operates.    I always looked forward to going into the office every week. I could always count on a smiles and warm greetings upon my arrival. The design and layout of the office gives the perception of the  Bátor Tábor's organizational culture. It completely aligns with its missions and goals. Each committee or group has its own separate room, but there is nothing discouraging open collaboration and communication among them.”

Project #3

Partner: The Center for Independent Journalism (www.cij.hu)

Student participant: Kami Finkel (BSBA)

CIJ’s mission is to promote fact-based and ethical media reporting in Hungary. Since 1995, CIJ regularly organizes roundtable discussions, conferences, workshops on media issues (press freedom, access to information, ethics) and cooperates with international NGOs and networks in media development. CIJ focuses its activities on training of journalists (investigative and business reporting, diversity in media, migration) and publication of training resources, research studies. It has trained 110 journalists of Roma origin and currently operates a news portal (www.sosinet.hu) produced by Roma reporters.

Assignment:

To create new material (in English) and proof read existing materials/articles for the web. To assist with preparing professional media events (roundtable discussions, workshops); assist with international media projects; research and develop project proposals; and to enhance the English language skills of Roma journalists.

Student’s Report:

Kami worked at the CIJ headquarters twice a week to assist them with development and proofreading English material for their website.  She had weekly conversations (language lessons) with Roma journalists- in-training. (The Roma are Hungary’s largest minority group. They have the highest level of unemployment and crime, and lowest levels of education within the general population. Discrimination against, and tensions between the indigenous population and this ethnic group is one of the most pressing issues not just in Hungary, but across Europe.)

“The best part, however, was not particularly what I did there but what I learned there.”

Through these conversation Kami learned about the fair and balanced use of media, and most importantly about the role and importance of ethics that is just as crucial in the nonprofit sector as it is in the for profit one.

Project #4

United Way Hungary (http://www.unitedway.hu/en/aboutus.aspx)

UWH is one of the few Hungarian NGOs that aim to prevent accidents before they occur. With a focus on prevention, UWH funds and develops its own educational programs to prevent avoidable childhood accidents in homes and in institutions charged with the care of children (schools, hospitals).

Student participants: Kayla Stokes and Nicole Reardon

Assignment:

To develop new content for the English website and assist with the visual design of the new webpage.

Students’ Report:

Kayla and Nicole brainstormed with UWH staff and developed a web layout that allows for more functionalities than the present site, features more visual content, and information is easily accessible for visitors wanting to learn about UWH’s programs.

Project #5

XKK Media

Student participant: Hannah Shore

A newly formed organization under the leadership of one of Hungary’s most respected investigative journalists, that advocates for  fair and balanced media coverage of all ‘tough’ topics, such as the Roma situation in Hungary.

Assignment:

Contribute to the development of a marketing plan for XKK, and research successful international anti-prejudice campaigns that can be used as models for XKK efforts to present a balanced view of the Roma issues in Hungary.

Student’s Report:

“My task was to research creative, unconventional anti-prejudice campaigns to use as inspiration for a future XKK campaign. I decided to find 15 campaigns that had a unique approach or process. For each one, I noted what the message of the campaign was, and the strategy it used to make this message resonate. This way, XKK can refine the message they would like to communicate about prejudice by hopefully modeling the specificity and directness of these messages, and can either select a strategy from among the campaigns or use them as guidelines.”