Social Entrepreneur Fellowship moves Spotlight Café
to next level
Karen Obando ‘13
As a university filled with many incredibly motivated and intelligent student leaders, UNC-Chapel Hill has an array of student organizations ranging from sports clubs to performance groups. Each forms a unique aspect of Carolina, but often times students that may be involved in one organization do not have the opportunity to discover what others also have to offer. To create a bridge between different campus groups, Brendan Yorke ’13, Kelsey Knight ’13 and Laura Kirchhofer ’12 started Spotlight Café, a project funded by the APPLES Social Entrepreneur Fellowship (SEF) program.
Every year through the SEF program, APPLES offers young entrepreneurs the opportunity to design an initiative that addresses a need on campus, in the local community or abroad, providing year-long support to develop their idea. Students are enrolled in an entrepreneurship course and are given up to $1,500 to support their social venture. Five projects were chosen in 2011, among them, Spotlight Café, which plans to serve as a sustainable fundraising source, allowing diverse student organizations to connect with one another.
“There is not a space on campus where organizations can learn about each other. We’re hoping to create this space through the café,” said Yorke. The café will be a place where students can spend time on creative art projects such as mug painting and jewelry making, with proceeds from café sales benefitting fundraising efforts of student organizations on campus. Students will not only have the opportunity to meet new people and create artistic items, but they will also be able to give back to the organizations they are most passionate about.
The fellows are already implementing their project, and Postcards for Progress, a student-led organization that fosters intercultural awareness in middle-school aged youth through artistic means, will be the first student organization to receive proceeds from café sales. Through Postcards for Progress, students engage in dialogue about diversity and culture, but they also learn the value of cultural exchange through dancing, painting, photography and letter writing. With the help of the Social Entrepreneur Fellowship, Spotlight Café has been able to purchase start-up supplies to help facilitate their collaboration with Postcards for Progress. In the future, Yorke said he would like Spotlight Café to continue building relationships with student organizations across campus and encourage a broad range of groups to participate in this new program.
*To continue the tradition of supporting innovative and socially responsible projects from both the APPLES Service-Learning program and the Carolina Center for Public Service, four former fellowships have been combined into one newly named and redesigned fellowship program. The Robert E. Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship program launched in January 2012 and will support unique student efforts to address community issues through partnerships and creativity.
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Social Entrepreneur Fellows Laura Kirchhofer '12, Brendan Yorke '13 and Kelsey Knight '13.
Mugs painted by students at Spotlight Café.
Student painting a mug at Spotlight Café to support Postcards for Progress.
Postcards for Progress logo.