Collaborate, innovate and make an impact.
Through UB's Social Impact Fellows program, students from the
School of Management and School of Social Work spend the summer
learning about and creating social innovation in Western New York.
Presented in collaboration with the Blackstone LaunchPad at UB, the
program pairs action-oriented management and social work students
together for an eight-week internship at a local mission-driven
organization, where they work together to address pressing social
issues and make an impact on our community.
After a successful first cohort in 2017, the program will be
offered again in summer 2018 thanks to the generous support of the
Charles D. and Mary A. Bauer Family Foundation. Applications for
2018 students and partner organizations will open this fall.
The Social Impact Fellows program prepares students to address
societal issues using principles of entrepreneurship and
sustainable social innovation.
- During the eight-week summer internship, one fellow from the
School of Social Work and one from the School of Management work
together with a mission-driven organization to address a systemic
social issue troubling our region.
- At each site, the fellows learn about issues the organization
tackles and meet with stakeholders who are working on or affected
by these problems. Using this information and the entrepreneurial
principles they learn, the fellows create a solution to address
- During the program, fellows conduct their internship Monday
- On Fridays, they return to campus for sessions with management
and social work faculty, who collaborate to teach fellows how to
identify, define and generate solutions for social
- Students also attend forums with guest speakers on economic
development and social justice issues, share their internship
experiences with one another in facilitated group discussions, and
visit social enterprises throughout Buffalo.
Across the globe, social innovation is rapidly growing, as
companies, nonprofits and governments partner to bring together
their skills and perspectives to tackle sweeping challenges. That's
the spirit that guides the Social Impact Fellows program —
and provides great benefits for each stakeholder.
- Students gain skills and experience in strategic planning,
creative problem-solving, entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship
(the ability to innovate within an organization), making them more
marketable and competitive in the job market. Additionally,
students receive compensation for tuition and fees with a modest
- Through their internship and other experiences, fellows learn
about and find creative ways to address such social issues as
homelessness, gender equity, food waste and health care, thereby
making an impact on the Western New York community.
- At the end of the program, fellows participate in the Pitch for
a Cause competition, during which they present their solutions and
compete for funding to help their partner organizations continue to
implement their ideas. In the first
Pitch for a Cause competition, fellows won $2,000 each for
Belmont Housing Resources for Western New York and the Lt. Col.
Matt Urban Human Services Center of WNY.
- After working closely with peers in another discipline,
students gained an appreciation for the background and skills their
counterparts from management or social work bring. Many told us the
program inspired them to expand their career goals to include
nonprofit management and social entrepreneurship.
“The students created a comprehensive program based on a
solid foundation of research that has the potential to help youth
aging out of foster care find and afford stable housing, support
their educational and financial goals, and help set them up for a
self-sufficient future. We were so impressed with their
professionalism, initiative and how well they worked as a team,
while each bringing their specific strengths to the work." —
Amanda Wilton, Housing and Financial Coach, Belmont Housing
Resources for Western New York