Sustainability and Social Enterprise
The Open Society University Network and the Graduate Programs in Sustainability at Bard College, in collaboration with faculty at other OSUN institutions, offers the OSUN Certificate in Sustainability and Social Enterprise. The Certificate can be earned by undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in participating universities. The Certificate is grounded in project-based learning and features a weekly global classroom including students from Bangladesh, Colombia, Kyrgyzstan, Bulgaria, Ghana and the US, among other countries. Students also meet locally and in-person with faculty co-instructors to develop their projects.
This Certificate provides leadership training in the critical thinking and skill sets needed to create and build “Social Enterprises”: both nonprofit and mission-driven for-profit organizations. It offers a focus on "sustainable business", theoretical perspectives and concrete tools designed for students from all disciplines—the arts, natural and social sciences, the humanities--who want to drive social change through building new organizations or transforming existing ones. It is designed as a low-cost plug-in for universities around the world seeking a program of study in leading social and environmental change through business and nonprofit leadership. If you are a student at an institution that offers the courses below, please APPLY HERE.
About the program:
The core of the program is offered through OSUN Network Collaborative Courses. These project-based courses feature a weekly global classroom -- a synchronous global webinar-- with students attending from participating universities worldwide. The students also meet weekly in-person with their local co-instructors to drive their course projects. This means that to earn the certificate, students must be enrolled in a participating university. To find out if your university offers access to the OSUN Network Collaborative Courses, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students earn the Certificate by completing this course sequence, including at least three courses drawn from:
- Sustainable Development and Social Enterprise (OSUN Network Collaborative Course, OR OSUN Online Course)
- Social Entrepreneurship (OSUN Network Collaborative Course)
- Leading Change for Sustainability (OSUN Network Collaborative Course)
- Up to one other course designated as a Sustainability and Social Enterprise Certificate Course at an OSUN institution.
See the Course Descriptions Below.
Who chooses the Certificate in Sustainability and Social Enterprise?
Students Interested in Sustainable Business and Non-Profit Solutions to Social and Environmental Challenges
Have you ever thought about starting a business or a non-profit to solve some of the world's biggest challenges? This Certificate introduces students from all disciplines-- arts, communciation, design, natural science, social science, engineers and others-- to the skills and mindset needed to lead mission-drive enterprises.
OSUN NETWORK COLLABORATIVE COURSES in the CERTIFICATE
Sustainable Development and Social Enterprise. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals highlights 17 key areas for global progress, ranging from food security to women’s empowerment to climate change action. One way to achieve these goals is through social enterprise: for-profit and non-profit organizations whose mission is to advance one or more of the SDGs. This collaborative, cross-institution course explores the global drivers of change that led to the UN SDG’s, with a particular focus on Social Enterprise solutions. The course combines in-person instruction with a global classroom, where students convene each week in a common zoom space to share ideas. Participating schools have included BRAC University in Bangladesh, the American Universities of Central Asia (in Kyrgyzstan) and of Bulgaria, Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia, Bard and others. The experiential component of the course engages students in conducting shared research projects on local enterprise ecosystems focused on solutions to the SDG’s.
Social Entrepreneurship. In this course, students develop their own ideas for non-profit or for-profit businesses that work to solve social and environmental challenges. The course combines in-person instruction with a global classroom, where students convene each week in a common zoom space to share ideas. Participating schools have included BRAC University in Bangladesh, the American Universities of Central Asia (in Kyrgyzstan) and of Bulgaria, Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia, Bard and others. Past certificate courses have incubated powerful social business ideas in Bangladesh and the US. The course culminates in a “shark tank for sustainability” among and between teams from the different universities. The course includes readings and discussion focused on social issues related to entrepreneurship: drivers of change, from decarbonization to AI; delinking growth from material throughput; urban-based innovation ecosystems; social obstacles to risk taking; working on multi-disciplinary teams; language, power and gender dynamics in entrepreneurship; deconstructing the archetypes of entrepreneurship.
Leading Change for Sustainability. This course focuses on how to create progressive change with an organization. Student teams develop and advance proposals for organizational innovation within their university or their workplace. Examples might include net zero global warming goals, expansion of local food offerings, improved daycare or transportation for students and workers, or improved recycling system. The course combines in-person instruction with a global classroom, where students convene each week in a common zoom space to share ideas. Participating schools have included BRAC University in Bangladesh, the American Universities of Central Asia (in Kyrgyzstan) and of Bulgaria, Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia, Bard and others. Past certificate courses have incubated powerful social business ideas in Bangladesh and the US. Topics include leadership skills; critical conversations; understanding why change fails more often than it succeeds; key factors that drive successful organizational change; the role of the change facilitator; and tools for designing and facilitating processes that bring forth the group intelligence.