Innovating Oxy through Entrepreneurship
May 19, 2013
Blogger: Lisa Chang
Myth: Oxy does not have a business or entrepreneurship program, which means that Oxy students and faculty aren't interested in them.
Answer: False. Think again.
Allow me to introduce to you Oxypreneurship, a student-led organization that seeks to foster an entrepreneurial spirit among students through innovative thinking and so much more. As one of the leaders in Oxypreneurship (OP), I have been fortunate to work with a team of incredibly motivated students and supportive faculty and board of trustees to create and hold events on innovation and entrepreneurship.
Even though OP has only been in existence for less than a year, the progress we've made so far gives testament to just how big of an influence OP has had and will continue to have on Oxy.
This past semester, OP created a one-unit class that invited speakers to talk about social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial leadership. We've also held L(a)unch meetings that train students to market their ideas effectively, build their ideas about entrepreneurship, and strengthen student businesses, to name a few. During Founder's Day weekend, we held a panel discussion featuring Oxy faculty and alumni on the intersections of a liberal arts education and entrepreneurship. We've built networks with various alumni, social entrepreneurs, faculty, and even fellow aspiring student entrepreneurs from CalTech.
Now, I know what you're thinking: This all sounds great, but I am not an entrepreneur in any way! Trust me, my friend, even as a member of OP, I am still in the same position as you. The good news is, OP is not limited to those interested in economics, diplomacy, entrepreneurship, or businesses. In fact, a large part of OP's mission is to encourage students to think creatively--"outside the box," if you will--in order to better society. This goal suits anyone regardless of your major or interests!
I can't think of a better example of this other than our "Innovate Oxy" problem solving event in March. This intensive ten-hour event had over thirty students tackle two problematic issues on campus: communication and sustainability. They then formed groups and spent the entire day brainstorming various problems they have run into regarding those issues. Instead of complaining about them and not taking action, however, these students created feasible systems to recitfy specific issues within those categories. At the end of the day, they presented their ideas to the rest of the participating students and faculty.
One would be inclined to think that forcing college students to sacrifice their Saturday is the equivalent of torture. But at the end of the day, every single individual came out the event totally inspired, rejuvenated, and ready to take action to improve Oxy. The presentations I saw totally blew me out of the water and gave me so much hope in humanity and specifically, in my generation. After chanting, "Innovate! Oxy!" at the end of the day, all I could think about is the substantial change OP is help creating on this campus.
The leadership team is already actively planning exciting events for next semester. In addition to a four-unit econ/DWA class about entrepreneurial leadership, my team is planning two more problem solving events, inviting a big-name speaker to campus, and even working on a huge speaker conference. We are beyond excited about them!
Oxypreneurship has reminded me of one of the million reasons why I love Oxy so much. Students here are definitely one of a kind. Instead of apathetically thinking, "yeah, we have a problem, but I can't do anything about it," Oxy students say, "we have a problem, I have a plan, what's next?" Our student body demonstrates that the liberal arts education we receive not only expands our intellectual capacities, but also stretches into the practical world by helping us apply our knowledge into improving our communities.
To learn more about Oxypreneurship, visit our Facebook page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.