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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


UC San Diego Social Impact promotes inclusion

September 24, 2018

As part of EDC’s Inclusive Growth initiative, it is important to highlight action-oriented programs throughout the region that promote inclusion and serve as key examples for other employers to adopt and scale for their own organizations. After releasing its interactive web study Building San Diego’s Talent Pipeline, EDC spoke with Naila Chowdhury, director of social impact and innovation at UC San Diego, who has been leading the charge there in addressing critical issues affecting underrepresented communities in San Diego, as well as the rest of the world. Read about UCSD’s compelling programs in Chowdhury’s commentary below and see how you can get involved or implement.

My role as  Director of the Office of Social Impact & Innovation (SII) at UC San Diego, along with its essential partners, serves the campus by actively promoting partnership, collaboration and enhanced relations between all campus stakeholders, especially students, the community, corporations, local, national and global organizations in the area of Social Justice. Since joining the University of California San Diego three years ago, I have been working on creating awareness and educating the university community about serious issues that need addressing in our beautiful City of San Diego.

I believe that gender inequalities and discrimination attitudes and practices, that hold women and girls back, also include our underserved communities and must be confronted and eliminated. It cannot remain just words anymore; we have to practice these words in every sphere of our lives. We at large have to establish public and private partnerships with civil society, academia, nonprofits, private sector, foundations, and large corporations. Everyone has to feel and be a part of this inexorable march to usher in a new era of enhanced, equal opportunities for women and minorities. Women and girls represent the largest untapped resources for social and economic development in our world today. Local issues like women's leadership and economic empowerment, is critical to future development, sustainability, equity and peace in our world. Leaders of today must make a commitment to dismantling institutional barriers and ensure a level playing field so that every woman has the same opportunity as any man while seeking livelihood opportunities in day-to-day work, society or access to finance and business.

The Office of Social Impact and Innovation at UC San Diego is committed to bringing solutions to solve the world's most pressing challenges like human trafficking, social inequality, and human rights violations trough programs like the upcoming Time to Rise Global Empowerment Summit We want to focus on actions and solutions. These challenges are complex and require innovation, creativity and dedication to solve. We need everyone’s collaboration to build bridges and share information to address these difficult issues, and it is imperative that the San Diego business community is a part of the dialogue and solutions.

We at the University of California believe that leadership and mentoring training, role models, and skill development must begin at an early age to help build an equal and inclusive world. With this in mind the university, along with sponsor partners, is recognizing the unsung heroes during the summit and engaging the participation of 50 youth from Smart City Saturday, Teen only Hackathon -Stop Youth Trafficking.  In preparation of their hackathon, they will be mingling and interviewing the survivors and refugees in attendance, and learning from one another.   

I am very satisfied with the many ways the University of California San Diego is addressing, supporting under represented, and minority students by offering services and programs to ensure students have adequate resources during their education at UCSD. I will mention just a few:

  • Programs that include undocumented students through their own Undocumented Student Services Office, which strongly advocates and generates a sense of community for all students that are undocumented or come from mixed immigration-status families: http://students.ucsd.edu/sponsor/undoc/.
  •  Centers like the Raza Resource Centro (RRC) is one of the Campus Community Centers supporting the UCSD Chicanx- Latinx. By using words with the letter X (latinX) it creates an inclusive environment for all of the students and individuals that visit their space, regardless of gender identity or expression: http://raza.ucsd.edu/.
  • Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) assists first-generation, socio-economically disadvantaged, and English-language learners by helping them prepare for postsecondary education, pursue graduate and professional school opportunities, and achieve success in the workplace: https://eaop.ucsd.edu/.
  • The TRIO Outreach programs offering services to San Diego High Schools on college advising, financial aid assistance, career awareness, educational field trips and summer programs and tours.  All aimed at recruiting potential first generation college student and/or low-income students: http://trio.ucsd.edu/.
  • UCSD supports the first generation student by providing Student Success Coaches aimed at improving first-generation college student access and success, eliminate obstacles, and improve pathways for students to achieve their academic and professional goals: https://srs.ucsd.edu/about/index.html.
  • Through scholarship funding, services and programs, the Chancellor’s Associates Scholarship Program (CASP) recognizes and supports talented local students with financial need and great potential and motivation to succeed at UC San Diego: http://students.ucsd.edu/sponsor/casp/.
  • The PATHS ways to STEM through Enhanced Access and Mentorship. This program model is aimed at mitigating  historically evident barriers and establish an infrastructure of resources, communications, and professional development within UC San Diego and in the surrounding community to increase under represented student to enter the STEM field: http://paths.ucsd.edu/.

According to Dr. Gentry Patrick, Director of Mentorship and Diversity for Biological Sciences at UC San Diego, what works for long term success with underserved minorities, is to immerse the students with professional context, leadership skills, support network of peers, faculty and alumni. It's important to show how STEM affects their life and how they can be an example in their community and that STEM is not for somebody else. To make these programs successful what is needed is a broad base of support, partner with organization, individuals for funding, engagement, placement opportunities and mentorship possibilities.

We are happy to announce that during the Time to Rise Summit 2018, a PATH Scholar will be a recipient of SII -Social Impact Scholarship in partnership with Qualcomm Institute and Alliance4Empowerment (www.socialimpact.ucsd.eduwww.alliance4empowerment.net).

In summary, social impact is more than social justice.  Our efforts at SII focus on areas of inclusion, inequalities, transformational leadership, and economic empowerment. It is time to rise together to address these social challenges. We hope you join us at our Time To Rise Summit on October 6https://time-to-rise-summit.eventbrite.com.

Livestream will be available the day of the Summit at https://youtu.be/e9wv2hUhE4A

UC San Diego-Social Impact is conscientious about its responsibility to leave behind a better and more collaborative world by training and informing Change Makers Who are the Source of Change. When we work with community partners and other collaborators, we build responsible caring ambassadors and we build bridges globally to develop international working relationships.  At UC San Diego, we are changemakers. That is why Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs, recently designated the university as a “Changemaker Campus”.  Be the source of change with us!