High Impact of Virtual Institute 2015
This past Saturday, January 24th, we hosted Virtual Institute 2015! Every January, Nourish International and its Chapters gather together on AnyMeeting.com for this virtual training conference as a collaborative effort to grow the Nourish movement. This year, we were extremely excited to have over 30 of our amazing chapters with 100 student social entrepreneurs attend our daylong development session. (Shout out to our Chapters on the West Coast for getting up at 9 am on a Saturday!)
Every year, Virtual Institute has served as a platform for Chapters across the US and Canada to connect and learn from each other. We tailored our valuable workshops and discussions so that Chapters may build a better understanding of how to further the impact on extreme poverty as student leaders. Students are able to not only inspire but also learn from their peers—Virtual Institute is one of two times in the year, the other being our Summer Institute, in which Nourish is able to participate as one group.
Virtual Institute this year was a huge success! Students loved how they were able to meet with other leaders in the movement and share their passions for sustainable and responsible development projects. Lauren Monahan from Boston College loved “[seeing and] hearing from all the students and being able to connect with them!” Alex Deuley from Pitt affirmed that “connecting with students across the country and hearing that they are going through similar experiences that we are” was one of the best parts of Virtual Institute.
To support Nourish’s high impact virtual programs, like Virtual Institute, you can donate here.
Connect with Nourish!
UNC Nourish recently held a 2-part Ventures Incubator to brainstorm and ultimately create five feasible business plans with the potential to become sustained business ventures. The idea for the Incubator was born out of the recognition by UNC’s Chapter that their success with Hunger Lunch should be replicated in other ventures that are equally sustainable and replicable and that create consistent partnerships with vendors or suppliers while fulfilling a need for students.
Elizabeth Smith, Ventures Director, expressed that the goal behind the Incubator was to “move away from events and focus more on long-term ventures that are built around ventures values and that mirror locally the relationships we build with international partners.”
An important component of the Incubator was to create a space for collaboration between the Chapter and the larger community. As Elizabeth explains, “We also wanted a chance to make connections with people in the area who are more knowledgeable than we are and who, if given the chance, would be receptive to communication with Nourish. For that reason, and to get some fresh juice and make sure it wasn’t just our committee members talking to one another again, we invited ‘VIPs’ from the area who were able to give constructive and realistic advice as we sought to scale down our ideas into business plans. It also gave our committees a chance to interact with these incredible people.”
The five proposals generated out of the Incubator vary from ice cream and coffee to second-hand clothing to environmentally friendly cleaning supplies, and discussions are underway to start a student-run bike repair service. From this point forward, the Chapter plans to carry through with 3-4 ventures already planned for the semester while revamping Hunger Lunch and focusing energy on following through with 1 or 2 ideas from the Incubator.