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How Rollins College and the Sullivan Foundation Are Developing the Next Generation of Impact Entrepreneurs

By Meagan Harkins

Lucy Cross, a New York native and high school teacher, moved to Florida in 1879 for health reasons. Little did she know at the time that she would end up founding one of the most prestigious small colleges in the United States and helping to transform higher education in the Sunshine State—with a little help in later years from the Sullivan Foundation.

Once settled in Daytona Beach, Cross opened the Daytona Institute for children of tourists, offering eight-month courses instead of the usual four months provided in the public schools at the time. During that period, she saw the need for a strong liberal arts college and approached her pastor, Rev. C.M. Bingham of the Congregational Church, in 1884 to help secure funding.

Lucy Cross, also known as the Mother of Rollins College

The church formed a committee and received a $50,000 donation from A.W. Rollins, a Chicago businessman. Founded in 1885, Rollins College, now a Sullivan Foundation partner school, is the oldest college in the state, residing on Lake Virginia in Winter Park, Fla.

As Rollins grew and evolved, Hamilton Holt, a journalist, social activist and politician, became its eighth president in 1925, serving for 24 years, and sparked the college’s longtime relationship with the Sullivan Foundation. Holt promoted extensive interaction between professors and students and limited Rollins’ enrollment to ensure students would receive enough individualized attention and mentorship from faculty and staff. Holt went on to found the Rollins Educational Conference in 1931, a five-day national conference to unite leaders throughout the field of higher education.

Holt also created Rollins’ popular Walk of Fame, commemorating hundreds of leaders and thinkers—from George Washington to Ralph Waldo Emerson and St. Augustine—with stones placed along the pathway by Holt himself. He placed high value on leadership and quickly recognized the potential of collaboration with the Sullivan Foundation.

Related: Rollins College alumnus creates safe haven for families affected by AIDS

A Friendship Leads to a Partnership
As George Sullivan, the son of Algernon Sydney and Mary Mildred Sullivan, worked to establish the Sullivan Foundation in memory of his parents, he simultaneously developed a friendship with Holt.

Sullivan partnered with the New York Southern Society, founded by his father, and asked Holt to assist in identifying two Rollins students to receive the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion, which was to be “bestowed, not earned.” Rollins’ first Sullivan Award winner was Irving Bachellor, who went on to become a novelist and honorary Rollins trustee.

In 1936, the Sullivan Scholars Program was born, a Sullivan Foundation partnership with Rollins College that recognizes servant-hearted juniors and seniors. After 85 years, Rollins students continue writing essays annually about how their lives honor the values that the Sullivan family championed. These scholarship recipients also receive a one-time monetary contribution to their service work.

Meanwhile, Holt continued working with George Sullivan to develop a partnership focused on social entrepreneurship and awarded Sullivan himself the Rollins College Decoration of Honor in 1940.

A Who’s Who of Sullivan Award Winners
The next Rollins president named a facility on the Rollins campus in memory of the Sullivans in 1947, and the Sullivan Memorial House was dedicated in 1948 in recognition of the Sullivan Foundation’s continued generosity. These spaces have housed classrooms and hosted meetings and services of the Rollins’ Circle of Sullivan Scholars as well as other student organizations. It is decorated with art pieces and memorabilia that George Sullivan donated from his parents’ estate.

Since Sullivan and Holt’s early days of collaboration, the partnership between Rollins College and the Sullivan Foundation has only been strengthened. The Sullivan Tuition Assistance Scholarship covers 50 percent of undergraduate tuition costs for one rising Rollins junior whose life and deeds exemplify service above self.

Fred Rogers was a Rollins College graduate and recipient of the 2001 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award.

Meanwhile, Rollins College boasts a veritable Who’s Who list of highly deserving Sullivan Award recipients. It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood when Rollins alumnus Fred Rogers received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation Award in 2001. Rollins’ 155 award recipients have included Sara Jane Renfroe, a program officer with a refugee resettlement agency; children’s behavioral therapist Luz Cabrera; and Camp Viva cofounder Tony Lembeck.

Rollins College now awards the Sullivan Medallion to three students annually: one graduating male, one graduating female and one local resident. The private liberal arts college also provides scholarships to allow two students and a faculty member to attend the semi-annual Sullivan Service and Social Entrepreneurship Program retreats in hopes they will apply the skills they acquire to their own Central Florida communities.

Related: Green is the new black at Rollins College

The Social Impact Hub
Rollins College sends students to Sullivan Foundation retreats during their first or second years on campus, so that they can make better use of their time as servant leaders at Rollins. Faculty note that students come back energized and stay in touch with people they meet from other schools, then go on to serve other students beyond the retreat. “That really speaks to the way that Sullivan conducts their retreats,” said Dr. Tonia Warnecke, the George D. and Harriet W. Cornell Chair of Social Entrepreneurship and professor and director of social entrepreneurship at Rollins College.

“It’s valuable to connect to a broader network of schools that are prioritizing social entrepreneurship and social innovation,” Warnecke said. She feels it is important for schools from different places with different demographics, institutional sizes and resource levels to collaborate with each other and with presenters.

Arshiya Kherani, founder of the Sukoon line of activewear for Muslim women, has participated in the Rollins Rethinking Fashion event at Rollins College.

The connections that students and presenters make at Sullivan Foundation events can reap long-lasting rewards. Sarah Ismail, president of Rollins College’s Muslim Student Union, attended one of the Ignite Retreats and has kept in close contact with Ignite Retreat presenter Arshiya Kherani. Kherani launched Sukoon Active, a sustainable activewear line for Muslim women. Due to their relationship, Kherani’s work was incorporated into Rethinking Fashion, Rollins College’s ethical and sustainable fashion show.

Working with the Sullivan Foundation “makes my job easier,” said Melissa Nelson, staff director of Rollins College’s Social Impact Hub, which gives students the tools and resources they need to address local and global social issues. She finds recruiting students for her programs to be less difficult, as they are already eager to make actionable change.

A collaborative effort between three staff members and 10 student employees, the Social Impact Hub is “committed to developing changemakers by connecting students to opportunities inside and outside of Rollins.” The hub offers curricular and co-curricular programming in social entrepreneurship, social innovation, sustainability and nonprofit organizations.

Both students and faculty are able to participate in seminars, mentorships, networking, design thinking sessions and community immersion opportunities. Nelson describes the hub as a “creative space on campus for students to work through the wicked problems of the world.”

Related: Rollins College named No. 1 college in the South

The Social Impact Hub fosters awareness and education while providing resources for passionate student leaders who want to enact change. Many students opt for environmentally-focused projects—for example, installing floating gardens on Lake Virginia to absorb fertilizer runoff, which is good for both beautification and providing residents with food.

Other Social Impact Hub teams have launched social-impact businesses manufacturing trash bags from recycled plastic and refurbished donated shoes to provide for in-need individuals.

Dr. Tonia Warnecke, chair of Rollins College’s social entrepreneurship program, is shown here getting ready to move into the department’s new location in Rollins Hall.

An Ashoka U Changemaker Campus
Rollins College was recognized in 2012 as an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus, acknowledging its leadership, innovation and commitment to social entrepreneurship—a business sector that George Sullivan supported early on. Rollins’ commitment to service is also exemplified through the Center for Leadership & Community Engagement. “It’s important for students to think about service and its role in our lives and have meaningful opportunities to integrate service into both curricular and co-curricular activities,” Warnecke said.

Rollins’ social entrepreneurship department, chaired by Warnecke, was established in 2018, following the creation of the social entrepreneurship major and minor in 2013. “Not everything happens at once, and that’s what we learn with changemaking,” Warnecke said. “There are processes to make change. They take time and effort. They may not be easy but nothing worth doing ever is.”

Warnecke and her team envisioned the opportunity to develop specialized courses. “It has been important for continuing to improve the depth and breadth of social entrepreneurship education here,” she said. Social entrepreneurship is now the college’s tenth largest undergraduate major and eighth largest minor.

Additionally, Rollins’ social entrepreneurship program has been utilizing the Sullivan Foundation’s Ignite Masterclasses. These free 75-minute workshops and networking sessions highlight changemakers and specific social innovations and have been incorporated into Warnecke’s students’ class schedule. Rollins College partnered to co-host Masterclasses in both the fall and spring semesters, including “How to Use the SDGs to Localize Innovation” and “Disrupting Harmful Stories of People and Places.”

Held online in Fall 2020 and continuing in Spring 2021, the Ignite Masterclasses were a necessary pivot from the foundation’s in-person Ignite Retreats and field trips due to COVID-19. “It speaks to how innovative the Sullivan Foundation is,” Nelson said. “Some students said that, of all the virtual [activities] of last semester, those were the most engaging.”

“They loved it,” Warnecke added. “Students emailed me afterwards, noting they had never experienced a virtual platform like that before. It brings the idea of global citizenship to a different level. I’m very grateful to the Sullivan Foundation for having put something like this together, at a time when physical and geographical connection is much more challenging. Providing meaningful opportunities for connection is extremely valuable.”

 

 

Rollins College Named One of the Nation’s Best Colleges for Merit Aid

In one of a string of recent honors during the Spring 2019 semester, Sullivan Foundation partner school Rollins College was recently named to Money.com’s list of the nation’s best colleges for merit aid, ranking in the top 50 for access to merit-based financial aid.

The 50 colleges on the list award merit aid to at least one in four students, and their average award covers at least 25 percent of the tuition price.

“We extend merit-based financial aid to enable bright and promising students to join our community of learners,” says President Grant Cornwell, “and it is deeply gratifying to see these students develop and thrive at Rollins.”

Rollins offers a multitude of partial merit scholarships that range from $10,000 to $30,000, and since 2005, the College has awarded more than $16 million through the Alfond Scholars Program.

Money.com ranked the colleges by a combination of overall quality, average merit grant, and share of students who receive merit grants.

Earlier this spring, Phi Theta Kappa, the premier honor society recognizing academic achievement at associate-degree-granting institutions, ranked Rollins among the nation’s best colleges for transfer students. Prior to that, Rollins’ MBA program at the Crummer Graduate School of Business was named the country’s No. 1 masters program for leadership and organization development. And College Choice in February ranked Rollins’ undergraduate business program among the best in Florida.

Photo by Scott Cook

Service Dogs Guided This Rollins College Graduate to a New Career Specialty

Plenty of dogs can roll over, fetch or shake hands. Ari, a black Labrador and golden retriever mix, can do a lot more than that. He has been trained as a service dog to help people with disabilities navigate their way through challenges that otherwise might restrict them from fulfilling their potential. And it’s all thanks to many months of work with Marissa Cobuzio, a 2019 graduate of Sullivan Foundation partner school Rollins College.

As a member of Rollins’ Bonner Leaders Program—a community-service initiative that pairs students with local nonprofits—Cobuzio spent the last year and a half of her time at Rollins raising Ari for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI). A nonprofit headquartered in Santa Rosa, Calif., CCI provides expertly trained assistance dogs free of charge to people who need them. The service dogs help adults and children with physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities as well as the deaf and hard of hearing.

As Rollins College explained in a recent story on its website, Cobuzio, who graduated with a double major in biology and sociology, worked with CCI to get Rollins approved as a service-dog-raising campus. She also coordinated with campus administrators to develop the infrastructure needed to continue the service dog program for future Rollins students.

this photo illustrates how service dogs trained by Canine Companions for Independence help people with disabilities

Marissa Cobuzio with Ari, a service dog that she trained to help people with disabilities. (Photo by Scott Cook)

After graduating from Rollins earlier this year, Cobuzio started at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in August. The vet-in-training hopes to eventually work for a mission-based organization like CCI.

Cobuzio became a puppy trainer for CCI after volunteering in a pet therapy program at the AdventHealth for Children (called the Florida Hospital for Children at the time) in Orlando. “I had never really gotten to explore the animal-human bond in that way before,” she said. “I realized I wanted to shift focus in vet school more toward this route.”

Related: This 12-year-old social entrepreneur uses bowties to help shelter animals get adopted

While volunteering with the pet therapy program, Cobuzio met Rollins alumnus Bill Gordon, an experienced service dog trainer. They worked together to set Rollins up as a campus approved for raising service dogs. “There was so much thought put into it—making sure there’s housing on campus and a system in place for bringing dogs to classes, determining where the dogs can and can’t go, giving the people raising puppies the support they need,” she recalled. “It’s been a long ride, but I’m so thankful to everyone who helped make it a reality.”

Raising a service dog inspired Cobuzio to reconsider her own career goals. “It’s something I’m super-passionate about, and it has completely shaped what I want to do as a vet,” she said. “I wanted to be a wildlife vet for the longest time, but I’ve talked to several of the vets at CCI, and they do a lot of work with breeding. All the service dogs with CCI are bred in California, and they do a lot of genetic testing as well as just general research on dog longevity and quality of life. And there’s a mission behind it. That sounds incredible to me—not only doing your job but serving other people in the process.”

this photo shows the close relationship between Marissa Cobuzio and her service dog

Service dogs like Ari help people with disabilities navigate challenges that might otherwise keep them from fulfilling their potential. (Photo by Scott Cook)

“I know now that I want to get a specialty in animal reproduction and work in service dog breeding,” she added. “It’s shifted my mindset about what I could do as a vet and how that could affect people.”

Service dogs are so smart, a golden retriever named Hollywood even earned a degree from Cobuzio’s alma mater. Rollins College awarded Hollywood, a service dog to Rollins Disability Service Coordinator Jon Viera, an honorary “dogorate” degree for “extraordinary service to a student” when Viera collected his own master’s degree in human resources in May 2016. Hollywood had been raised from puppyhood by New Horizon Service Dogs, another nonprofit specializing in training and matching service dogs with people who have disabilities.

Related: This Florida nonprofit serves pet owners who can’t afford veterinary care

Cobuzio said her education at Rollins prepared her for success at Cornell, one of the country’s most prestigious universities. “Rollins definitely taught me how to prioritize my time in an efficient manner and gave me the opportunity to be involved with so many things, like the Bonner program, a sorority, and being a puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence,” she said. “The rigor of the science department at Rollins taught me how to study effectively in order to not just remember concepts and regurgitate them on an exam, but rather to think critically through the information so that I have a working understanding of it long-term.”

this photo shows a service dog with an owner who has a disability

Hollywood, Jon Viera’s service dog, received an honorary degree from Rollins College. (Photo by Scott Cook)

Cobuzio credited Rollins biology professor Jay Pieczynski with mentoring her in her journey to a career in veterinary medicine. “[He] helped me conduct mock interviews for vet schools, helped me research different programs, and helped me with requirements and getting an internship. He also encouraged me all along the way. He made a personal investment in me to make sure I was on the right path, which was huge. Bailey Clark [in the Center for Leadership & Community Engagement] was my supervisor in the Bonner Leaders Program and was so wonderful at making sure I was caring not only for my academic health, but also my mental health and focusing on the things that really matter. I also loved working with sociology professor Amy Armenia, who was my thesis advisor. She always encouraged me and made sure I wasn’t overworking myself.”

Her experience at Rollins, Cobuzio added, “educated me about the world in general, which I think is really important—not just for vet school, but for being a functioning human in the world. Also, applying to vet school and having them see that I wasn’t just focused on biology but on being a person in the world as a veterinarian was really important. You can’t just study something in isolation. That’s not how it works. Understanding all the different influences on what you want to study is important, and being in the honors program at Rollins did that for me.”

Marissa Cobuzio with her Rollins College mentor, biology professor Jay Pieczynski (Photo by Scott Cook)

Rollins College Students Selected for UN’s Prestigious Millennium Fellowship Program

For the second straight year, Sullivan Foundation partner school Rollins College is among an exclusive group of colleges selected to participate in the United Nations’ Millennium Fellowship leadership development program.

A cohort of 11 Rollins students has been selected to participate in the 2019 Millennium Fellowship, which empowers students to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on campus and in their communities. Rollins was one of just 30 campuses worldwide selected to host the global pilot program in 2018.

Students from 1,209 campuses across 135 nations applied to the highly selective fellowship, which was launched last year by the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) initiative and the Millennium Campus Network (MCN).

Learn how you can ignite change in your community through the Sullivan Foundation’s twice-annual Ignite Retreats.

Rollins College’s 2019 Millennium Fellows are Farahana Cajuste, Brittany Chaney, Aditya Das, Wyatt Deihl, Jiavi Ding, Isaac Gorres, Eliane Heller, Dahlia Lilleslatten, Ahrmon Mahanpour, Brunella Roncetti, and Ye Wong.

From August through December, Rollins Millennium Fellows will help implement some of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that the U.N. adopted in 2015 to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. The goals range from clean water and affordable clean energy to quality education and responsible consumption. Millennium Fellows’ projects are projected to positively impact the lives of more than 970,000 people worldwide.

this photo depicts some of the students mentioned in the story

Clockwise from left: Isaac Gorres, Aditya Das, Ahrmon Mahanpour, and Eliane Heller are among Rollins’ 2019 Millennium Fellows.

In their fellowship applications, students proposed a project that would advance at least one U.N. Sustainable Development Goal and one UNAI principle. Projects include everything from research and documentary filmmaking to running a social enterprise and leading campus-wide initiatives. As the faculty advisor for the Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship Hub, political science professor Dan Chong will work closely with the cohort on developing and implementing their individual projects.

Click here to learn about the Sullivan Foundation’s Faculty Fellowship Program.

“Rollins College stands out as one of the most committed university communities committed to social impact in the world,” says Sam Vaghar, MCN executive director and co-founder. “This extends from the students to the faculty and administration that strongly advocate for them. I have personally seen the extraordinary passion, commitment, and follow-through present in this community, and it is exciting and fitting to see Rollins selected to host Millennium Fellows on campus for another year.”

In addition to Millennium Fellowship sessions on campus this year, there will be webinars with sector leaders from the United Nations and the Gates Foundation along with collaboration from Howard W. Buffett, whose new book, Social Value Investing, has provided content for the fellowship curriculum.

this photo shows a gorgeous waterfall scene in the rainforest

Photo by Oliver Sjöström from Pexels

“Our Millennium Fellows will leverage their Rollins education by engaging in global challenges such as educational inequality, sustainability, human rights, and access to health,” says Micki Meyer, Lord Family Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs-Community. “The U.N. Sustainability Goals provide students with a framework to direct their commitment to change, and we’re excited to see how they learn and grow from this leadership opportunity.”

According to the U.N. website, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in September 2015 by the U.N. General Assembly,  “emphasizes a holistic approach to achieving sustainability for all.” It lists 17 sustainable development goals:

*No poverty
* Zero hunger
* Good health and well-being
* Quality education
* Gender equality
* Clean water and sanitation
* Affordable and clean energy
* Decent work and economic growth
* Industry, innovation and infrastructure
* Reduced inequality
* Sustainable cities and communities
* Responsible consumption and production
* Climate action
* Life below water
* Life on land
* Peace and justice – strong institutions
* Partnerships to achieve the goal

This article was adapted from the original story appearing on the Rollins College website.

11 Rollins College Students Selected for UN-Backed Millennium Fellowship

By Audrey St. Clair

A cohort of 11 Rollins College students has been selected to participate in the 2019 Millennium Fellowship, a prestigious leadership development program that empowers students to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on campus and in their communities. Rollins, a Sullivan Foundation partner school, was one of just 30 campuses worldwide selected to host the global pilot program in 2018.

Students from 1,209 campuses across 135 nations applied to the highly selective fellowship, which was launched last year by the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) initiative and the Millennium Campus Network (MCN).

From August through December, Rollins Millennium Fellows will take action to help implement some of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that the U.N. adopted in 2015 to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. The goals range from clean water and affordable clean energy to quality education and responsible consumption. Millennium Fellows’ projects are projected to positively impact the lives of more than 970,000 people worldwide.

In their fellowship applications, students were asked to propose a project that would advance at least one U.N. Sustainable Development Goal and one UNAI principle. Projects include everything from research and documentary filmmaking to running a social enterprise and leading campus-wide initiatives. As the faculty advisor for the Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship Hub, political science professor Dan Chong will work closely with the cohort on developing and implementing their individual projects.

this photo shows the various members of the Rollins cohort

Clockwise from left: Isaac Gorres, Aditya Das, Brian Mahanpour, and Eliane Heller are among Rollins’ eleven 2019 Millennium Fellows.

“Rollins College stands out as one of the most committed university communities committed to social impact in the world,” says Sam Vaghar, MCN executive director and co-founder. “This extends from the students to the faculty and administration that strongly advocate for them. I have personally seen the extraordinary passion, commitment, and follow-through present in this community, and it is exciting and fitting to see Rollins selected to host Millennium Fellows on campus for another year.”

In addition to Millennium Fellowship sessions on campus this year, there will be webinars with sector leaders from the United Nations and the Gates Foundation along with collaboration from Howard W. Buffett, whose new book, Social Value Investing, has provided content for the fellowship curriculum.

“Our Millennium Fellows will leverage their Rollins education by engaging in global challenges such as educational inequality, sustainability, human rights, and access to health,” says Micki Meyer, Lord Family Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs-Community. “The U.N. Sustainability Goals provide students with a framework to direct their commitment to change, and we’re excited to see how they learn and grow from this leadership opportunity.”

Rollins’ 2019 Millennium Fellows are:

  • Farahana Cajuste ’21
  • Brittany Chaney ’21
  • Aditya Das ’22
  • Wyatt Deihl ’21
  • Jiayi Ding ’21
  • Isaac Gorres ’20
  • Eliane Heller ’21
  • Dahlia Lilleslatten ’20
  • Brian Mahanpour ’20
  • Brunella Roncetti ’21
  • Ye Wong ’21

This story originally appeared on the Rollins College website.

Green Is the New Black at Rollins College

By Audrey St. Clair, Rollins College

From renewable energy to alternative transportation to campus-wide recycling programs, a focus on sustainability is woven into the culture at Sullivan Foundation partner school Rollins College. Initiatives like the Sustainability Program, a campus-wide effort focused on infrastructure, and EcoRollins, a student-focused, event-based organization, form the backbone of Rollins’ commitment to preserving the campus community and beyond.

“Thousands of plastic bottles, straws and containers have been prevented from entering landfills because of our combined efforts here on campus,” says Ellie Rushing, a double major in environmental studies and communication studies and co-leader of the Sustainability Program with environmental studies major Gabbie Buendia. “Students are more conscious about what they eat and throw into garbage and recycling bins, and they will take that information and those habits with them when they leave Rollins and teach others.”

The Princeton Review selected Rollins for its annual Green Guide based on academic offerings, campus policies, initiatives, activities, and career preparation for students. Here’s a closer look at why the experts agree that Rollins continues to serve as a model for environmental stewardship.

  1. Rollins has its own EcoHouse on campus. This spot on the back side of Elizabeth Hall—complete with five single rooms, one double, a common room, and bathroom—overlooks Lake Virginia and houses Sustainability Program coordinators and members of EcoRollins who care for the space. They participate in gardening, road and lake cleanups, planned events such as Earth Day and America Recycles Day, and environmental and sustainable education on campus.
  2. You can ditch four wheels for two. Rollins’ bike-share program is in its ninth year of providing bicycles for rent to students, faculty and staff. Currently, there are 44 bikes in the fleet with a mix of cruiser and road bikes, many of which were abandoned and then restored by members of the Sustainability Program. Bikes can be checked out at the Olin Library for three-day rentals.
  3. The recycling program goes beyond bottles and cans. Students in the Sustainability Program—which is overseen by program coordinator Ann Francis—continually collaborate with Rollins’ Facilities department to monitor recycling bins and signage in residence halls, administration buildings and classrooms. In 2017, Rollins removed all plastic bags as a result of a student-driven no-plastic campaign and has subsequently eradicated Styrofoam from campus. The Habitat for Humanity Book Drive promotes reusing and recycling by collecting old books from students during exam week.
  4. Rollins’ environmental studies department was one of the first in the country. Environmental studies professor Barry Allen founded Rollins’ environmental studies department in 1982. For 20-plus years, he has been leading students like Angelo Villagomez, a senior officer with PEW Charitable Trusts, and Tyler Kartzinel, a conservation biology professor at Brown, on field studies to Costa Rica, giving them an up-close, hands-on look at one of the world leaders in conservation and national parks.
  5. No more straws means solving big problems.Turns out those little tubes of convenience aren’t biodegradable, so Rollins has taken steps to eliminate all plastic straws. Environmentally friendly options like pasta straws and paper straws are now available at the different dining locations around campus.

    Photo by Curtis Shaffer

  6. Rollins is a Fair Trade campus.In fact, Rollins became Florida’s first designated Fair Trade campus in 2013. From the Rice Family Bookstore and the Cornell Fine Arts Museum to Dining Services and even Athletics (think Fair Trade balls at soccer practice), Rollins is committed to purchasing environmentally sustainable products that don’t come from sweatshops or child labor and actively educates students about the sustainability issues involved in global commerce.
  7. Farm-to-table has never been so close.Rollins’ on-campus student-run organic farm started as an independent study project aimed at educating students about health and larger issues of how food is produced, transported, sold, and cooked. Andrew Lesmes—along with the help of academic advisors and volunteers—turned a 968-square-foot patch of earth behind Elizabeth Hall into a self-sustaining microfarm that provides homegrown grub to Sodexo, operators of the College’s dining hall.
  8. You can minor in sustainable development. Connecting environmental studies to business, this unique program examines how development and conservation can be intrinsically linked to ensure the protection of Earth’s vital natural systems. Pair the minor with a major in international business or economics or social entrepreneurship for a powerhouse combo.
  9. The Bush Science Center is both high-tech and energy-efficient. This state-of-the-art facility features multiple heat-recovery wheels that allow the school to save up to 70 percent of the energy associated with heating, cooling and dehumidification.
  10. Reusable dining containers make it easy to do your part.The Sustainability Program partnered with Dining Services to implement the OZZI system, which is designed to reduce disposable waste through the use of sustainable, reusable containers at dining locations across campus. Dining Services also gives a reusable cup discount and extends its sustainability commitment to using Green Seal-certified cleaning products, cage-free eggs and certified sustainable seafood.
  11. Hydration stations can be found at every turn. These conveniently placed water stations have saved almost 2,500,000 plastic water bottles since 2012. Dining Services’ latest initiative is to remove all plastic water bottles from campus by the end of 2019.

    Photo by Scott Cook

  12. Going green takes many forms. Students like Morgan Laner can start their own program like EcoReps. This campus initiative, currently managed by Lauren Oxendine and Gabbie Buendia, is devoted to training and recruiting student leaders focused on sustainability. Students can also join the Committee on Environmental and Sustainable Issues (CESI), which advises college leadership on concerns related to sustainable development, environmental impact, biodiversity and environmental justice. Or they can take a community engagement course like Strategies for Changemakers and discover how to improve the environment right in their backyard.
  13. Year-round events and activities keep environmental engagement turned up to an 11. From lake cleanups and e-waste drives to clothing swaps and food-waste audits, there’s always an opportunity to take a small step toward big change. Since fall 2017, for example, Rollins has stopped 4,881 pounds of electronic waste from entering landfills and polluting the environment.

Rollins Named No. 1 College in the South

Sullivan Foundation partner school Rollins College was named the No. 1 college in the South by College Consensus, a school rankings and student review aggregator, last month.

College Consensus combines the results of the top college ranking publishers like U.S. News & World Report and Forbes with real student reviews from top student-review sites like Niche and Unigo to produce a comprehensive ranking of a school’s reputation and quality.

In its rankings of the best colleges in the South, College Consensus recognized Rollins for its prolific and varied study abroad experiences through the Office of International Programs as well as its emphasis on service, community engagement and civic initiatives.

Other standout offerings include the College’s Accelerated Management Program, which combines a BA and MBA into a five-year program; the honors program; and the dual-degree program, where students concurrently earn a BA in international business from Rollins and a BS in international management from Reutlingen University in Germany.

College Consensus also recently ranked Rollins 2019’s best college in Florida for the third consecutive year.

Green Is the New Black at Rollins College

By Audrey St. Clair, Rollins College

From renewable energy to alternative transportation to campus-wide recycling programs, a focus on sustainability is woven into the culture at Sullivan Foundation partner school Rollins College. Initiatives like the Sustainability Program, a campus-wide effort focused on infrastructure, and EcoRollins, a student-focused, event-based organization, form the backbone of Rollins’ commitment to preserving the campus community and beyond.

“Thousands of plastic bottles, straws and containers have been prevented from entering landfills because of our combined efforts here on campus,” says Ellie Rushing, a double major in environmental studies and communication studies and co-leader of the Sustainability Program with environmental studies major Gabbie Buendia. “Students are more conscious about what they eat and throw into garbage and recycling bins, and they will take that information and those habits with them when they leave Rollins and teach others.”

The Princeton Review selected Rollins for its annual Green Guide based on academic offerings, campus policies, initiatives, activities, and career preparation for students. Here’s a closer look at why the experts agree that Rollins continues to serve as a model for environmental stewardship.

  1. Rollins has its own EcoHouse on campus. This spot on the back side of Elizabeth Hall—complete with five single rooms, one double, a common room, and bathroom—overlooks Lake Virginia and houses Sustainability Program coordinators and members of EcoRollins who care for the space. They participate in gardening, road and lake cleanups, planned events such as Earth Day and America Recycles Day, and environmental and sustainable education on campus.
  2. You can ditch four wheels for two. Rollins’ bike-share program is in its ninth year of providing bicycles for rent to students, faculty and staff. Currently, there are 44 bikes in the fleet with a mix of cruiser and road bikes, many of which were abandoned and then restored by members of the Sustainability Program. Bikes can be checked out at the Olin Library for three-day rentals.
  3. The recycling program goes beyond bottles and cans. Students in the Sustainability Program—which is overseen by program coordinator Ann Francis—continually collaborate with Rollins’ Facilities department to monitor recycling bins and signage in residence halls, administration buildings and classrooms. In 2017, Rollins removed all plastic bags as a result of a student-driven no-plastic campaign and has subsequently eradicated Styrofoam from campus. The Habitat for Humanity Book Drive promotes reusing and recycling by collecting old books from students during exam week.
  4. Rollins’ environmental studies department was one of the first in the country. Environmental studies professor Barry Allen founded Rollins’ environmental studies department in 1982. For 20-plus years, he has been leading students like Angelo Villagomez, a senior officer with PEW Charitable Trusts, and Tyler Kartzinel, a conservation biology professor at Brown, on field studies to Costa Rica, giving them an up-close, hands-on look at one of the world leaders in conservation and national parks.
  5. No more straws means solving big problems.Turns out those little tubes of convenience aren’t biodegradable, so Rollins has taken steps to eliminate all plastic straws. Environmentally friendly options like pasta straws and paper straws are now available at the different dining locations around campus.

    Photo by Curtis Shaffer

  6. Rollins is a Fair Trade campus.In fact, Rollins became Florida’s first designated Fair Trade campus in 2013. From the Rice Family Bookstore and the Cornell Fine Arts Museum to Dining Services and even Athletics (think Fair Trade balls at soccer practice), Rollins is committed to purchasing environmentally sustainable products that don’t come from sweatshops or child labor and actively educates students about the sustainability issues involved in global commerce.
  7. Farm-to-table has never been so close.Rollins’ on-campus student-run organic farm started as an independent study project aimed at educating students about health and larger issues of how food is produced, transported, sold, and cooked. Andrew Lesmes—along with the help of academic advisors and volunteers—turned a 968-square-foot patch of earth behind Elizabeth Hall into a self-sustaining microfarm that provides homegrown grub to Sodexo, operators of the College’s dining hall.
  8. You can minor in sustainable development. Connecting environmental studies to business, this unique program examines how development and conservation can be intrinsically linked to ensure the protection of Earth’s vital natural systems. Pair the minor with a major in international business or economics or social entrepreneurship for a powerhouse combo.
  9. The Bush Science Center is both high-tech and energy-efficient. This state-of-the-art facility features multiple heat-recovery wheels that allow the school to save up to 70 percent of the energy associated with heating, cooling and dehumidification.
  10. Reusable dining containers make it easy to do your part.The Sustainability Program partnered with Dining Services to implement the OZZI system, which is designed to reduce disposable waste through the use of sustainable, reusable containers at dining locations across campus. Dining Services also gives a reusable cup discount and extends its sustainability commitment to using Green Seal-certified cleaning products, cage-free eggs and certified sustainable seafood.
  11. Hydration stations can be found at every turn. These conveniently placed water stations have saved almost 2,500,000 plastic water bottles since 2012. Dining Services’ latest initiative is to remove all plastic water bottles from campus by the end of 2019.

    Photo by Scott Cook

  12. Going green takes many forms. Students like Morgan Laner can start their own program like EcoReps. This campus initiative, currently managed by Lauren Oxendine and Gabbie Buendia, is devoted to training and recruiting student leaders focused on sustainability. Students can also join the Committee on Environmental and Sustainable Issues (CESI), which advises college leadership on concerns related to sustainable development, environmental impact, biodiversity and environmental justice. Or they can take a community engagement course like Strategies for Changemakers and discover how to improve the environment right in their backyard.
  13. Year-round events and activities keep environmental engagement turned up to an 11. From lake cleanups and e-waste drives to clothing swaps and food-waste audits, there’s always an opportunity to take a small step toward big change. Since fall 2017, for example, Rollins has stopped 4,881 pounds of electronic waste from entering landfills and polluting the environment.

Rollins College’s Department of Social Entrepreneurship Enlists Students on T-Shirt Campaign

When you’re looking to deliver a message to the masses, say it with a T-shirt. That’s the idea behind a contest sponsored by the Department of Social Entrepreneurship at Rollins College in Central Florida.

Rollins already has earned global recognition for its Social Entrepreneurship program, the first to be accredited by AACSB International, a nonprofit association that brings together educators, students and businesses to develop the next generation of leaders. AACSB accreditation ranks the department among the elite—less than 5% of business programs around the world attain it.

Now Dr. Tonia Warnecke, the George D. and Harriet W. Cornell Chair of Social Entrepreneurship at Rollins, wants to spread the word about the innovative program campus-wide as well.

The department has challenged students to design a T-shirt that captures the essence of the program, Warnecke said. “In addition to coming up with a great slogan and design, we decided to have the contest as an opportunity to engage students in the social entrepreneurship major and minor,” she added. “It is important for students in the major and minor to be part of a community and to feel connected to the program they are enrolled in. It also gives them the chance to think critically about how they want to raise awareness of social entrepreneurship as well as share the opportunities provided by their major with others.”

It’s no secret that young people appreciate the fashionable simplicity of logoed T-shirts that express their interests and passions. “Students love having T-shirts displaying the programs, clubs, organizations, and sports they are involved in,” Warnecke said. “In addition to being fun and rewarding, the contest is a way for students to further develop their creative design and marketing skills.”

The contest launched on February 13, and the deadline for submissions is March 1, although Warnecke said the department may decide to extend the deadline as midterms approach. “We received our first submission the day after the contest launched, and I have received email inquiries from several students about the contest, so students are excited about it!”

Warnecke earned her bachelor’s degree from Rollins College and returned as a faculty member after receiving her masters’ degree and Ph.D. She co-developed the school’s Social Entrepreneurship major and minor at Rollins College in 2013, according to her Chair’s Message on the Department of Social Entrepreneurship’s website.

“In our global economy, thinking about business as a tool for social change has never been more timely,” Warnecke wrote in the Chair’s Message. “In the aftermath of the Great Recession, and in a society where environmental degradation and socio-economic inequalities are becoming more serious every day, social entrepreneurship helps students hone their skills of leadership, innovation and creativity and fully engage in their communities—local and global—as they apply business skills in novel ways.”

To learn more about the Social Entrepreneurship program at Rollins College, read the department’s mission statement here.