Noble Impact

Small “Spaces” making a Noble Impact

Wofford College is a small liberal arts college in Spartanburg, South Carolina. They have less than 2,000 students and the closest airport is in Greenville, about 30 minutes away. photo (4)

But, as Jim Collins states in Good to Great, they’ve developed a little pocket…errr, “space”of greatness.

As a judge on a panel for their Impact & Launch Competition, I had the opportunity of listening to ten students pitch their ideas & businesses. They were vying for a first place prize of $5,000 and some professional consulting to help them take the next step. These students had been incubating and accelerating their ideas for the last year and now it was time for them to tell a room full of people how they were going to make it happen.

Just like anything else, some were better than others and two different winners were selected…one from the business side of things and the other from a social change context.

In my opinion, the best part was was Wofford’s ability to create this real world experience for the students. It had to be a little intimidating giving a presentation to a panel of judges and a room full of about 100 people. On the line? Funding, pride, confidence, bragging rights, etc.

The entire experience can really be summed up by what the Assistant Director, Jeremy Boeh told me in our ride from the airport to Wofford. He said, “we want to have a space where students can fail and it be ok.”

I couldn’t agree more. In a country where standardized testing has been the ultimate metric of knowledge, I think the “build & pitch” method might be something to embrace. The skills and knowledge attained from this competition are priceless and you could see students grow before your eyes.

photo (5)

To “educate” is related to “educere”, which means to draw out or bring out. “The Space” at Wofford is doing an incredible job of drawing out and bringing out the best in their students. It’s obvious that each student is being challenged outside their comfort zone and learning a tremendous amount in the process. If you need evidence of engaged education, head to Wofford and experience “The Space”…to grow.

  Posted by chad in Blog, Uncategorized on April 25, 2013  /  Tags: