North Central College was selected as one of six institutions from across the country to receive the Working Across Differences Fund grant, joining an elite group of institutions that includes Duke University, University of California at San Diego, Portland State University, Miami Dade College and CQUniversity in Australia. The grant comes from Ashoka U and is supported by the Fetzer Institute. Ashoka U is the higher education initiative of Ashoka—the world’s largest community of social entrepreneurs and changemakers.
North Central was named a Changemaker Campus by Ashoka U in 2018. The recognition was the outcome of a rigorous selection process that acknowledged the College’s strong curriculum, robust cocurricular offerings, committed leadership and operational excellence.
The Working Across Differences Fund provides year-long grants to post-secondary institutions for creative and innovative campus-wide initiatives that accelerate the creation, development and implementation of programs that build bridges across differences.
“In the spirit of developing citizens and leaders, one of our goals has always been to cultivate meaningful and productive dialogue, especially in difficult times and through challenging topics,” said Jeremy Gudauskas, assistant vice president and co-director of the Center for Social Impact at North Central College. “This grant will allow us to more deeply train and equip our campus leaders, plan and host events that model best practices, and evaluate and share our results with a larger network of colleges and universities.”
The grant will support the College’s “Reclaiming Civility Project,” which aims to foster a cohesive understanding and collective approach to address polarizing topics or events. The goal of this project is to train individuals across North Central’s campus, create a community action plan for dialogues, and continue to strengthen connections across campus and throughout the community.
Those trained will become ambassadors of dialogue across differences and will facilitate campus-wide discussions in a variety of programs. The project ambassadors will create an advisory board and plan campus-wide events, and also create a more concise training module designed to prepare students to communicate constructively across differences.
“We are so impressed and excited by North Central College and its commitment to bridging differences on campus,” said Marina Kim, Ashoka U co-founder and executive director. “North Central reminds us of the possibility on each campus to meaningfully and deeply foster a culture of greater good. We hope this project serves as an invitation for others to follow in North Central College’s footsteps.”
The Fund was created in response to the deep-seated chasms experienced across today’s society. Ashoka U believes that changemakers must be equipped with the mindsets and skillsets to navigate the tensions between diverging perspectives and work in collaborative ways in order to find pathways to positive social impact.
Working Across Differences Fund grant events include a film screening of “13th,” followed by a structured dialogue led by trained facilitators, on Monday, October 28 at 6:00 p.m. in the Harold and Eva White Activities Center, second floor student lounge, at 325 E. Benton Ave in Naperville, Ill.
This grant opportunity was offered specifically to Ashoka U Changemaker Campuses. Learn more about North Central’s Changemaker Campus.
This grant supports the goals of the College’s new majors and minors in its Leadership, Ethics and Values (LEV) program. Learn more about North Central’s LEV program.