First CSCLeaders for Students in Boston, USA
In mid-January the Global Student Team delivered
CSCLeaders for Students, the inaugural Common
Purpose programme in the USA. The programme was sponsored
by the Weir Group and delivered in partnership with Harvard
College Office of Student Life as part of the Wintersession - a
week long opportunity for Harvard students to focus on
co-curricular activities and non-academic development
CSCLeaders for Students are four day leadership
development programmes held in major cities where significant
numbers of students from across the Commonwealth study. This
programme saw participants from 12 countries come together to
tackle the same challenge as the senior leaders: 'How do you get
societal - as well as economic - value from technological
innovation?' In addition to learning about the challenge, and the
process of innovation more generally, the students also developed
their Cultural Intelligence through frank conversations with people
from vastly different cultures. Dominic Akandwanaho, an
undergraduate student at Harvard, commented on the impact of this:
"It has been very intriguing to see how people have different
perspectives on issues and to think about what kind of experiences
may have informed their thinking along the way."
Over the four days the students interacted with speakers from
organisations such as the American Red Cross of Massachusetts,
Cambridge Innovation Center, Pfizer, Action for Boston Community
Development, Goulston & Storrs, The Boston Globe, MIT Sloan
Leadership Center and the US Attorney for the District of
Massachusetts. Richard Dimino, CEO of A Better City, had this to
say about his involvement: "I had the chance to work with a
wonderful group of young professionals and young academics who are
thinking about their futures and I was very pleased to be able to
do so. They asked great questions about how they shape their
future, how they can be engaged with improving their
communities...I can see that there is a very constructive effort on
their part to actually make a real difference."
The participants' responses to the challenge demonstrated a
determination to engage university students, which Boston has in
abundance, in addressing a range of societal issues. The ideas were
all conceived as projects could be implemented locally, but which
had the potential to be scaled up and rolled out once proven
The ideas generated were:
Blend: Bringing university students into
Boston high schools to offer after-school classes which combine
online lecture videos with in-person group discussions.
- Boston is home to thousands of university students but the city
suffers from a
disconnect between students and its communities.
- Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) exist to provide high
quality education at low cost, but suffer high dropout rates.
- Blend combines MOOCs with tutors from Harvard and MIT to engage
the students beyond the online offering to lessen dropout
Help Me Help You!:
Connectingnot-for-profit organisations with specific skills gaps
with university students in Boston.
- Studentvolunteers gain experience, develop local networks and
have the opportunity to maximise their impact.
- Not-for-profit organisations gain tailored solutions from
students that can bring passion and new perspectives to their
- Harvard and MIT both offer undergraduate courses requiring
students to complete a project element each year. Help Me Help You!
seeks to become a formal broker
for this project element.
i-Migrant: Creating a pathway for
immigrants to fulfil their American dream.
- America is a nation of immigrants. i-Migrant is an online
platform providing migrants with easy access to information, advice
on pathways to legalised status and support for career
- i-Migrant is available as a website and a mobile app and can be
used by existing outreach groups as well as individuals.
- i-Migrant comprises a series of testimonials from people that
have gained citizen status to the US, as well as a questionnaire to
establish whether the user has a pathway to citizenship. If the
questionnaire finds the user can be helped, they will be directed
to a legal assistant who can support them.
- i-Migrant will leverage the legal and technical expertise of
Karma Points: a new way of recognising the
service of volunteers.
- An online platform which facilitates matches between students'
and abilities with community groups in Boston.
- Karma Points replaces the traditional metric of the 'community
providing a richer measurement of the impact of a volunteer's
- Karma Points can be showcased on a user's social media
profiles, creating a
competitive edge between students over who has the most points -
thus driving a
culture change towards celebrating community service.
- Karma Points also links to local businesses and start-ups who
will provide rewards to students in recognition of Karma Points
earned, in exchange for raising their profile amongst this target
The next CSCLeaders for Students programme will
take place in Trinidad in March 2014 before the findings of
all of 2013/14 student programmes are passed onto the senior