The Spirit of Service Scholars Initiative Held a Seminar on Driving Social Change
On January 14, the ASU’s Spirit of Service Scholars initiative held the seminar “Driving Social Change through Elected Office and Social Entrepreneurship.”
On January 14, the ASU’s Spirit of Service Scholars initiative held the seminar “Driving Social Change through Elected Office and Social Entrepreneurship.” Dr. Jonathan Koppell, dean of the College of Public Programs, facilitated the first session which hosted Terry Goddard and Harry Mitchell, as special speakers. Goddard is a former Arizona attorney general and mayor of Phoenix. Mitchell is a former Arizona congressman, member of the Arizona Senate, and mayor of Tempe. Both of them are renowned Arizona leaders with ample experience running for office at different levels.
In a friendly and conversational environment, the speakers shared with the Scholars their experiences in public service: what inspired them to run for elected office, rewards, challenges, and examples of a common day as elected officials. Joe Arnett, a Scholar, said:
“It was a true honor to be seated at the same table as Terry Goddard and Harry Mitchell. After hearing from them it is clear to me that both of them have strong desires to serve our community and do it the best they can. I felt inspired to live my life in such a way that will enable me to serve and make an impact in our community just as they have done. We need strong individuals that stand and fight for what they believe in and do it in a selfless way—a spirit of service.”
The second session was led by Courtney Klein Johnson, an Arizona leader and social entrepreneur. Klein started a nonprofit organization that later became New Global Citizens. The organization empowers high school students to make an impact in the community at the local, national, and international levels. She shared with the Scholars the challenges and rewards of creating a nonprofit organization, and how she maneuvered to lead the organization to a successful merger and to secure funds. Ms. Klein Johnson encouraged the Scholars to get more informed and pursue their dreams as young leaders. Scholars were moved by this discussion: Kendra Smith said “Courtney offered great insights into the ‘nuts and bolts’ of starting a nonprofit as well as a clear example of how far one can get if you truly believe in yourself and what you're doing. I was inspired.”
Elected office and social entrepreneurship offer opportunities to promote change but involve different challenges, limitations and rewards. As current student leaders and future leaders of our nation, some Spirit of Service Scholars and alumni have considered these possible paths to drive social change. This seminar provided Scholars with more information about this topic from experienced high-profile leaders, as these students assess the appropriateness of each path for themselves.
The Spirit of Service Scholars is a multidisciplinary group of outstanding ASU students who represent 16 different majors and who are interested in pursuing careers in public service. This seminar was one of a monthly series designed to help Scholars be better prepared for their careers. Other seminar topics include demographic literacy, business and public service, and health care challenges.
More information about the Spirit of Service Scholars initiative is available at: http://spiritofservicescholars.asu.edu/