The University has been ranked #1 on Princeton Review’s list of “Best Schools for Making an Impact” this year, a new category of college rankings published in the Review’s “Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Best Value Colleges and What It Takes to Get In (College Admissions Guides).”
According to the Princeton Review, the list of “Best Schools for Making an Impact” are schools that feature the best community service opportunities, student governments, sustainability, and on-campus student engagement. They are also schools with the highest reported percentage of alumni with high job meaning.
“Students say that the ‘open and engaging student culture’ is the University’s greatest strength: Students are ‘at the heart of global issues’ thanks to the ‘vibrant student culture and activism,’” the Princeton Review website reads. “The Connecticut school is known for its community service and commitment, headlined by the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship.”
The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship (PCSE) is a campus resource that encourages and supports students and alumni who are interested in social entrepreneurial ventures, including creating and sustaining programs, businesses, and organizations. They hold programs to help develop student programs and also offer grants for students who are interested in developing new programs.
Lily Herman ’16 is the founder of The Prospect, a website utilized by high school students to help through the college process. Today, it has around 600,000 users.
“It’s awesome that Wesleyan is on the list for being an impact school,” Herman said. “There’s been a lot of work done in recent years by the Center for Community Partnerships, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and other departments to ensure that students are getting a thoughtful and well-rounded education on what civic engagement is really about.”
Makaela Kingsley, director of PCSE, wrote in an email to The Argus that she believes social impact has always been a core component of the University culture and philosophy.
“I don’t think [this list] says anything about our community that we didn’t already know,” Kingsley wrote. “I’ve joked that this ranking just means the secret is out, that the world is starting to recognize what we witness every day: students and alumni who are passionate about social change, with an academic and extra-curricular education that uniquely prepares them to have impact.”
Kingsley believes that the ranking reflects how passionate the students at the University are about being change-makers tackling social issues.
“Today, ‘practical idealism’ continues to characterize a Wesleyan education,” Kingsley wrote. “We attract students, faculty, and staff who think critically, draw important connections between disciplines, and seek ways to contribute to the common good.”
With this ranking, Kingsley has high hopes for the development of PCSE and that students take advantage of these resources to continue making an impact.
“I hope prospective students choose to come to Wesleyan not just for our academic reputation, but also because we are a premier school for social entrepreneurs and changemakers,” Kingsley wrote.
The Patricelli Center will continue to hold and introduce new social impact programs, including the Wesleyan Social Impact Summit, a program that will bring together students and alumni to discuss and share resources on what they are passionate about during the weekend of Nov. 13-14. The event will feature panelists including prominent Wesleyan alumni, small group programs to facilitate discussion, and networking opportunities for students and alumni alike.
“A lot of the social impact programs on campus are on the newer side, so I’m really excited to see how those continue to grow and develop in the coming years,” Herman said.
Caroline Liu ’18, the intern for the Social Impact Summit, said that the ranking reflects the image of the University of one that promotes social change.
“I’m not surprised that Wesleyan is number one [on the list],” Liu said. “But I don’t think it’s a reason to pat ourselves on the back or feel that we’re finished with our work. I think that we received this title because we always had a culture of caring about making change, and it’s not like this title should make us feel that we’ve achieved our goal.”