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Boston College School of Social Work
Center for Social Innovation

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Chile Innovation Collaborative: Expanding Opportunities for Students

Photo of BC and PUC Universities

MAY 6, 2015

Last fall, the Center for Social Innovation at Boston College began a partnership with Pontifica Universidad Catόlica in Chile to engage in a collaborative innovation project involving faculty, students, and Chilean NGOs. This July, the collaboration will enter its final stage as a group of 12 BC students travel to Santiago, Chile.

Under the leadership of CSI Co-Director, Dr. Stephanie Berzin and Assistant Director, Humberto Camarena students will engage in a new and unique cross-cultural educational experience through course, Community Development for Innovation: The Chilean Context.

The course brings classroom lectures to life by integrating community engagement and development theory with hands-on experiential learning. During the 2-week immersion experience in Santiago, students will engage in field work and provide critical feedback to three community partners engaging in our Social Innovation Lab.

The three selected Lab participants are:

  • Mi Parque: Repurposes abandoned lots into parks with the community, volunteers, and corporate partners
  • Gendarmeria de San Joaquin: Chile's largest women prison, located in the San Joaquin district of Santiago
  • Nuestra Casa: Provides services to men experiencing homelessness, including shelter, psychosocial support, and soccer program (Homeless World Cup)

The group of BC students was chosen among the School of Social Work and is a mix of both clinical and macro students. They will be joined by counterparts from Pontifica Universidad Catόlica School of Social Work, who will be working with the BC students will gain both collaboration experiences and real-life opportunities in the field.. Their diverse backgrounds will provide a strong combination of skills and field experience to enhance the impact of our partner NGOs in Chile.

To support the Social Innovation Lab project, students will incorporate technology into their research and field work thanks to our recent funding from the Exploratory Technology Grant (ETG).

Check back in the fall to learn more about the outcomes of the student trip and Social Innovation Lab!