At Innovate Carolina, the Office of Social Innovation is introducing its newly launched social innovation site to support students and others at UNC-Chapel Hill who are continuing the legacy of creating social good at the nation’s first public university. The office’s director Melissa Carrier offers insight about what you can find on the new site, why it was created and how you can use it to create meaningful change through your ideas and ventures.
Why was this site created?
We have talked about building a campus-wide micro site for Social Innovation for some time. Based on several years of working with student and faculty innovators, we know that teams face similar challenges along the entrepreneurial journey. We sought to curate the most helpful resources, knowledge and networks in one, easy-to-navigate place. Thankfully, we had the ability this fall to put our ideas into action.
Who is this site for – and how will it help them?
The site was built with a student user in mind. We anchored the content in the frequently asked questions we often hear. This includes: What do you mean by “social innovation?” Who else is doing this work at UNC? What classes should I take? How can I get my app or website built? How do I fund my idea? We also felt it was important for student changemakers of all types to have a place to learn more about UNC’s social innovation ecosystem and the people in it. That being said, we believe that faculty, staff and external users will find much of the site also relevant and helpful.
What types of information can people find here that they can’t find elsewhere?
What makes this site special is its simplicity in design and richness of content. SI@UNC is an aggregation of the very best information to support the needs of social innovators and entrepreneurs.
Who collaborated to work on it?
We conducted focus groups and surveys in 2020 to understand what information students were seeking and why they struggled to find the resources they needed. For example, we learned that students wanted to meet other students who were already working as social innovators. This led us to create the “Contact a Student Changemaker” section with interviews by students for students. We also worked closely with colleagues at UNC including the Campus Y, Carolina Center for Public Service, the UNC Entrepreneurship Center, UNC Libraries and many others to represent the breadth of programs, classes and support services available.
Ready to take the next step? Visit the social innovation site, explore resources, make connections and find what you need to make your ideas work.