Sullivan Spring Ignite Retreat, Faculty Summit Provide “Immensely Valuable Experience”

The Sullivan Foundation attained new heights of success in its educational programming in April, with the Spring 2019 Ignite Retreat for college students and the Faculty/Staff Summit drawing the largest attendance in both events’ history.

The Spring Ignite Retreat, held April 5-7, was a sold-out hit, attracting nearly 100 students and aspiring changemakers from across the Sullivan network of partner schools for a weekend of workshops and activities focused on social entrepreneurship and changemaking. Held concurrently with the retreat, the Sullivan Faculty/Staff Summit saw its attendance double over last year, becoming the most successful event of its kind thus far.

During the Spring Ignite Retreat, a team of skilled facilitators led students through a variety of workshops in three educational tracks, including tracks for those just beginning their social entrepreneurial journey, those who had already chosen a set of social challenges they wanted to address, and those who had a specific social venture in mind. Students also had the opportunity to pitch their projects to experienced social entrepreneurs, connect with Sullivan alumni and get access to Sullivan scholarship funding.

“The retreat was an entirely wholesome experience that caused me to deeply appreciate the fruits which can be cultivated if young people who genuinely care collectively focus on emotional intelligence and personal development,” said attendee Jonathan Molai, a senior majoring in pre-med biology at Campbell University. “In its ability to develop both hard and soft skills pertaining to social entrepreneurship, the Ignite Retreat kindled my passion for the subject even more than I had imagined. I deeply appreciate the students, exercises and facilitators as they laid the foundation and helped reconstruct the framework for lifelong personal growth in such a short period of time. Such an immensely valuable experience is rare.”

April’s Ignite Retreat attracted the largest-ever crowd for a spring retreat event. (Photo by Amber Merklinger, Amber Faith Photography)

The Faculty/Staff Summit provides university and college faculty an exceptional professional development opportunity that promotes deeper understanding of the social innovation and entrepreneurship community while deepening peer relationships. “I’ve been an educator for 20 years, and I searched for innovative, effective and productive ways in which to educate students while also inspiring them to direct their positive energy to better their communities,” said Rich Meagher, director of social entrepreneurship at Randolph-Macon College. “The Sullivan Foundation, through its Faculty/Staff Summit and Ignite Retreat events, has opened my students’ eyes and hearts to a new world of community service, specifically business-centric activities that solve problems and are sustainable. Many of my students now see their career options and life paths in a very different way!”

The Sullivan Foundation will host a second Ignite Retreat in the fall. The event will take place Oct. 18-20 in Asheville, N.C. For more information, visit sullivanfdn.org/events, call 662-236-6335 or email Ignite Retreat organizer Spud Marshall at spud@sullivanfdn.org.

Harrison Wood leads a workshop at the Spring 2019 Ignite Retreat. (Photo by Amber Merklinger, Amber Faith Photography)

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