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Capstone Seminar Helps Seniors Navigate Life After BC

For The Heights

Published: Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

As seniors begin to live out the final chapters of their Boston College experience, they inevitably realize that, before long, a wider world awaits them—one filled with new challenges to overcome, opportunities to seize, and decisions to make. To help students navigate life after commencement, BC offers a Capstone Seminar for seniors that aims to have them reflect on the education they received, as well as preview the long road ahead. As the Capstone program ultimately tries to impart a lasting impression on seniors the importance of always being men and women for others, the Social Innovation Symposium, held last night  in the Heights Room, endeavored to encourage those participating in future Capstone Seminars to further incorporate social innovation and social responsibility into their future career plans.

The event itself featured a conversation among social innovators working to bring more effective solutions to social issues in the public, for-profit, and non-profit sectors. Headlining the event were three speakers who in some way were able to find an opportunity to blend an aspect of social outreach and service into their business models. Earl Phalen, CEO of Reach Out and Read and founder of both BELL and Summer Advantage USA, focused his non-profits on academic achievement, partnering with pediatricians to reach pre-school age children and providing summer academics for older children. Jim Laughlin, director of communications for Life is Good, worked for a company that embodies corporate social responsibility through bringing play therapy to children who have experienced trauma. Lastly, Eric Schwarz, CEO of Citizen Schools, encouraged his organization to provide after-school learning opportunities to underprivileged middle school students.

Indeed, these three not only had a positive impact on communities and individuals entirely outside their sphere of customers and shareholders, but also proved that it is not difficult to give legs to BC's Jesuit identity beyond the Heights. "We're hoping that the symposium inspires students to consider new possibilities for social innovation in their futures and careers," said Maggie Dolan, the coordinator of the Social Innovation Symposium. "Our three speakers have approached old social problems in creative ways, and have made an impact because they were willing to take risks and think differently."

As for current seniors who are preparing to "set the world aflame," Dolan said that the Symposium hoped to emphasize to the many students headed to nonprofit, for-profit, or public sector work that "cross-sector partnerships are becoming more important for social service organizations, so we designed the event to engage students interested in those lines of work."

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