UNC Social Innovation Program Coordinator at CUBE reminisces about the days at the Y as a student.

San Francisco event gets alumni thinking about the future of social innovation.

Patrick enters a semester-long accelerator for student innovators, leaders, & entrepreneurs.

Iconic writer, NC native, and UNC alumni received an honorary Doctor of Letters.

Social Entrepreneur-in-Residence talks about his year mentoring CUBE ventures.

Students, staff, family members, & community partners gathered to acknowledge the year's accomplishments.

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This year, we have formalized a partnership with the School of Education, our friendly neighbor just down the block on Cameron Avenue, in support of CUBE’s Social Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Earl Phalen, who is one of the nation’s leading social entrepreneurs and education reformers and has dedicated the past 20 years of his life to expanding the life opportunities of youth through learning and academic engagement. Phalen’s role is to encourage students and faculty to think entrepreneurially about how to tackle challenges in the education sector, whether it be across the state, at a national level, or even globally.

Education reform and innovation have long been priorities at the Campus Y. "The Campus Y established a school for African Americans in the community just before World War I in some of the darkest early days of Jim Crow in the South,” says Ken Zogry, a public historian who has been researching Y history. The school was directly in response to the systemic inequity based on race, imposed upon public education by the codification of Jim Crow laws in practices at the turn of the 20th century." Today, the Y continues to tackle educational inequality through tutoring, literacy, and mentoring hundreds of youth and adult learners each year across Orange County.

20% of children in Wake, Orange, Johnston, and Durham counties in North Carolina don’t know where they will find their next meal. That’s more than 100,000 children living here in the Triangle who are “food insecure.” 30% of elementary school kids in Chapel Hill and Carrboro are on free and reduced lunch, putting them at risk for hunger outside of school—especially during weekends and long breaks.

Campus Y and CUBE partnered with Bull City Forward and the United Way of the Greater Triangle to try a different approach to tackling local childhood hunger this summer. They mobilized the Carolina community promoting a social innovation challenge open to the triangle, rewarding one winner with $50,000 to implement their solution to childhood hunger.

 “To-date, I feel it’s been a success,” says Bull City Forward’s Executive Director Keeva Kase. “The goal of the Challenge was to spark new, sustainable ideas for solving childhood hunger at the regional scale.” Four finalists were selected to participate in a 5-week accelerator to continue to refine their ideas and in mid-September, the top finalist from across the Triangle will be announced. This is just one example of how public and private organizations across the RTP are leveraging social innovation to address critical local needs.

This is just one of the strategies the Campus Y has been taking to fight local hunger.

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Nearly twenty years ago, Dr. Brian Billman, a UNC associate professor of anthropology, and Dr. Jesus Briceño from Peru’s Ministry of Culture co-founded a long-term archaeological project based in Ciudad de Dios in the Moche Valley on the north coast of Peru. After the first season digging, they faced the same problems every project faces there: looting of archaeological sites triggered by rural poverty.

A typical strategy – rarely successful – is for archaeologists to hire one or two people to protect the site during the off-season. However, in 1998, Billman and Briceño embarked on a different path, hiring the entire village of Ciudad de Dios to protect their archaeological site. They offered to fund $1200 worth of development projects each year that the site remained un-looted.

What was born was an innovative nonprofit organization called MOCHE Inc. — Mobilizing Opportunity Through Community Heritage Empowerment — protecting, teaching and studying the cultural heritage of that country while also creating economic development partnerships with rural communities. It takes its name from the Moche Valley and the ancient civilization that lived there. It is based on a social contract with the community, empowering its residents to take an active part in their development needs. Exciting news - MOCHE has recently been accepted into CUBE's class of entrepreneurs!


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