What is the Yonsei Center for Social Innovation?
Funded by the Ministry of Education’s University for Creative Korea program, the Yonsei Center for Social Innovation (YCSI) aims to foster a new generation of social innovators by offering the Social Innovation Certificate Program and providing support for extra-curricular activities such as internships, research programs, field trips, scholarships and much more. The Yonsei Innovation Creators’ Academia (SICA) is an umbrella organization of the YCSI established within Underwood International College with the intention of fostering young social innovators.
Driven largely by Techno-Art Division (TAD) and Integrated Social Sciences Division (ISSD), the SICA is geared towards exploring the interdisciplinary mission between the two to come up with a novel solution to a social problem. It also ensures that the participants understand the values in an active exchange of ideas among differing groups in order to adopt more effective, efficient, sustainable, and ethical approaches. Promoting the well-being of the society as a whole is crucial, which is precisely the overarching aim of a social innovation.
About Yonsei Social Innovation Networking Night
Yonsei Social Innovation Networking Night took place on September 28th, 2017 at The Lounge B110 (Veritas Hall) located at Sinchon Campus Baekyangnuri. The event invited a diverse range of guests including current and former participants of the YCSI and Social Innovator Certificate Program; the SICA and some of its own umbrella members; professors from TAD and ISSD; and several other UIC students interested in social innovation.
As the members, professors, alumni, and other guests began to arrive at the venue and registered themselves, gourmet finger-food catered by The Lounge was being prepared. There, we could exchange greetings with the ones we have not seen for some time while introducing ourselves to those whom we have not known before and yet share common interests: social innovation. Such all-embracing, welcoming discussions served as a natural segue into the presentation put together by the YCSI proceeded by the much-awaited six-course meal.
Professor Michael Kim was the first speaker with his heartfelt welcome remarks, covering the history of the YCSI, its recent activities and initiatives to bring about true social innovation. He further introduced a wide variety of alumni who had kindly agreed to attend the occasion in order to share their own firsthand experience within the academia, advertisement company and personal firm management, law, Information Technology, Human Resources, Kakao Group, and so forth.
This event essentially consisted of a series of speeches made by the President and other members of the SICA regarding their works supported by the YCSI through the means of appropriate subsidies, network connections, and pertinent information—all indispensable to initiating and sustaining socially innovative projects and businesses. For instance, Solvere, an umbrella group under the SICA, is a student-led academic group of students majoring in Sustainable Development and Cooperation (SDC), all upholding the spirit of solvere—“to solve” in Latin—by studying and tackling social issues.
Collage is another organization that is supported by the SICA. As a non-profit student-led organization, it aims to deal with the problem of “generation gap” by bridging the younger and older generations. The works that Collage carry out are mostly in the form of projects, both short-run and long-run, that are created and recorded online by the medium of photographs, videos, and online posts, altogether designed to function as an archive towards a bigger cause. Their ulterior mission is to “alleviate the disparity between the two generations and the negative stereotypes they hold towards each other, and ultimately to break down the wall that exists between them,” as articulated by Yesun Shin (class of 16).
Other presentations included the experience at the Silicon Valley where the values of risk-taking and cultural diversity were highlighted once more; a tale from Tanzania as the students worked on a coffee branding project that exposed the true nature of Africa—a home to the lives of extremely impressive people; a story from Vietnam where several workshops were held to help the local people visualize their problems and devise appropriate solutions to become “business that makes difference”; and participation in the process of social innovation by a dentistry firm, which makes toothbrushes out of bamboo to build factories and provide jobs for those with the lowest income, solely dependent on bamboos as their source of survival.
Other achievements that SICA has attained are summarized by Hyunggee Choi (class of 14), who currently serves as the President of SICA:
“For the summer 2017, SICA carried out plans to nurture social innovators at a global scale through NGO Delegation for Social Innovation to Bangkok, Thailand. The participants were able to gain deeper understanding in various social issues and broaden their view on international relations by visiting UN institutions, such as UNESCO office. Furthermore, the Global Collaborative Workshop on Social Innovation with CU Innovation Hub encouraged participants to share innovative thoughts with Thai students and provide a chance to network with each other, which we hope to lead to a stronger partnership between two countries. The workshop aimed to present a ground for students of both South Korea and Thailand to collaborate in thinking up innovative solutions for common social issues. The workshop was an opportunity to bring creative ideas together through open discussions and to interact with other innovative minds of similar interests. SICA believes the experiences of NGO Delegation for Social Innovation contributed to forming global environment regarding social innovation research in the future.”
Yonsei Social Innovation Networking Night was a basket with more gifts than one could have expected. Not only was it an extremely amicable meeting with delectable food to enjoy, this evening presented some of the transnational, eye-opening progress that the YCSI has accomplished so far. Surrounded by a group of alumni, professors, and members who were all eager to share their thoughts regarding their own projects, we found ourselves already many steps closer to bringing about social innovation towards the more inclusive, innovative, and inspiring future.
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