New UK Program Teaching Students How to Impact Society

Posted: April 25, 2016

The University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics recently inducted its first ever cohort of Social Enterprise Scholars (SES). A brand-new specialized pathway through UK's Honors Program, Social Enterprise Scholars is ideal for students who are interested in leadership, civic engagement and entrepreneurship.

"The Social Enterprise Scholars program will provide students with the necessary leadership skills and entrepreneurial expertise to better the communities they live in," said Gatton College Dean David W. Blackwell. "This talented group is a great foundation for what we hope will be many more cohorts to come."

The 22 new inductees already have made an impact on campus, with the entire cohort participating at FUSION — the UK Center for Community Outreach's day of service — and earning service hours as part of their co-curricular requirements. Students' interests range from sustainability to nonprofits, and even include corporate responsibility initiatives such as paid time off to volunteer.

"Before coming to college I spent a year working with human trafficking victims. It was so difficult to see these people have nowhere to turn after escaping trafficking. It gave me a dream to open up businesses to employ trafficking victims," said incoming Social Enterprise Scholar Lily Murphy, a freshman from Louisville. "When I heard about SES, I couldn't believe UK had a program to help make my dream become a reality."

Maria Masse, a freshman from Fort Thomas, is another incoming Social Enterprise Scholar.

"Upon entering the University of Kentucky I was looking for an honors program that was small in size, that would challenge me, and would fit my specific needs as a student and entrepreneur," said Masse. "The SES program attracted me because I am highly interested in founding and operating my own small business in the future. I believe that the leadership and communication skills involved with being a Social Enterprise Scholar will help me as I move toward that pathway."

At the induction ceremony, SES students heard from Nate Morris, co-founder and CEO of Rubicon Global, North America's leading provider of sustainable waste and recycling solutions, and a member of the executive committee of the Dean's Advisory Council at the Gatton College.

Morris, named last year as one of Fortune magazine's '40 under 40,' spoke to the students about using business to solve social problems. Rubicon Global is transforming the waste disposal industry through customized waste diversion strategies that lower costs and reduce environmental impact, empowering independent haulers and recyclers throughout North America.

Social Enterprise is the third of the Gatton Honors Pathways, led by director Chelsea Brislin. SES joins the Global Scholars Program for students interested in international business, and the SEAM (Scholars in Engineering and Management) Program, a collaboration between the UK College of Engineering and the Gatton College.

For more information about any of these programs, visit the Gatton College Honors program website. You can also access this website by going to www.gatton.uky.edu and typing in "Gatton Honors Program."