Semester in Social Entrepreneurship
Westmont Downtown is an off-campus program preparing students to apply the liberal arts to real life. Through tailored mentoring and teamwork, students draw on their academic disciplines to creatively transform their community.
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- GPA (minimum 2.3 gpa for eligibility)
- Application and essay
- Faculty recommendation
Apply HERE for Spring 2024Only answer question #1 in the essay section.
For more information about the program or the application process, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bravery: Erin Erickson
Erin Erickson is a free-spirited entrepreneur who reminded me of the benefits of risk-taking and saying ‘yes.’ She thrives when problem solving and seeks out opportunities to innovate. Erin prioritizes relationships and ‘giving back’ alongside working three different jobs, managing two social impact projects, and launching a business in freelance photography.
Dedication: Thomas Cochrane
Bursting with confidence and emanating joy, Thomas Cochrane is a truly unique and memorable person. Having known Thomas at Westmont, it was clear from our first meeting that he was interested in a life of creativity in business. The founder of a startup during his college years, Thomas loved to talk about new ideas, entrepreneurial opportunities, and the work that went into building something unique.
Courage: Katherine Kwong
Katherine is an avid artist and storyteller who interned with The Moth— a non-profit storytelling organization that hosts live events and also produces a podcast, The Moth Radio Hour. Katherine has the courage to say whatever is on her mind regardless of the social norms she may be breaking. This is what makes Katherine such an excellent innovator and storyteller — she is authentic and unafraid.
Westmont Downtown offers a wide variety of internships across sectors and disciplines. A majority of students are able to receive major credit for their internship. See below for a small sample of where students are placed for their 20 hour a week internship with Westmont Downtown.
Community Challenge Assignment
Students identify a particular challenge in the community and work together to develop a plan to address it.
Two physicians and a project coordinator from Sansum Diabetes Research Center invited the students to help them solve how to better publicize their smartphone app for mothers at risk for having children with gestational diabetes, getting it into the hands of those who could really use it. Three seniors—English major Holli Morrow, Economics & Business major Bryce Cohen, and Spanish/Economics & Business double major Katie Skiff—won the fall challenge with the photo and social media campaign Mas De Nueve Meses (“more than nine months”). Sansum began incorporating the student’s campaign right away, using the slogan with donors at a November event.
Santa Barbara County foster care services desired existing foster parents to make better use of available resources. In response, Izzy Esber (Art), Ellie Rouse (History), Caroline Thomas (Psychology), and Kaylee Deal (Economics & Business) devised the Our County, Our Kids Directory App. The directory offers resource parents in Santa Barbara County a mobile app and website filters so that families can locate resources efficiently and simply, streamlining a cumbersome process and helping more parents to benefit from existing resources. The County was delighted with the results and the directory is being launched Summer 2018.
The State Street Revitalization Task Force comprised of local business owners and stakeholders tasked students with figuring out how to bring more college students to State Street. The Heart of State Festival designated rotating blocks for a monthly street fair that brings together families and spotlights local businesses. The City of Santa Barbara and the task force is moving forward with parts of this idea under the leadership of Nina Johnson: https://www.independent.com/2019/04/14/the-s-b-questionnaire-nina-johnson/
The Santa Barbara Zoo asked WD students to draw 18-28-year olds to the zoo--an underrepresented demographic at zoos across the country. Through discounted and school-subsidized memberships, as well as educational programming, CUE (College and University Engagement) at the Zoo attracts college and university students to visit the Santa Barbara Zoo. More than just a way to increase membership numbers, this program seeks to shape student visitors into advocates for the zoo’s conservation efforts. The Zoo is working on unveiling this program in Fall 2019.
Westmont's Hub for Technology, Creativity, and Moral Imagination
The Westmont Hub (WestHUB) brings the campus together to incubate and accelerate entrepreneurial ventures across disciplines. Dr. Don Patterson shared more about WestHUB in his recent YouTube video during a virtual faculty forum.
Westmont Initiative for Public Dialogue and Deliberation
This public dialogue works with neighbors to speak and listen well together about challenges facing the Santa Barbara community for our common good and human flourishing.
Westmont College's Center for Social Entrepreneurship rated #10 of America's most entrepreneurial schools. Forbes evaluated schools based on a ratio of the total number of alumni and students who have identified themselves as founders and business owners on LinkedIn, divided by the school's combined undergraduate and graduate student body number.
Rachel Rains Winslow has joined the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission board of directors. She currently serves as a fellow with the Kettering Foundation, working on the intersection between public deliberation and local action as a way to engage students in democracy. Her teaching, research, and community work bring together her interest in U.S. social policy, social change practices, and American political culture, the Rescue Mission said.
A House on Beekman started when two college girls from NYU moved to the South Bronx on an adventure to live more like Jesus and love the marginalized in their City. Nearly 7 years later, A House on Beekman is building a seamless series of holistic programs from birth to college to empower their neighbors to break the cycles of poverty. AHOB offers classes for pregnant women and parents of young children, a licensed Preschool and an After School Program as well as summer programs.
Move over, tech and retail: Higher education is moving into downtown Santa Barbara.
Westmont College recently expanded its downtown campus space into a second floor at the Hutton Parker Foundation building on Anapamu Street.
This program is open to ALL MAJORS. If you are a student who is eager to be apart of social change in your community, this program is for you. Here are a sample of majors that have participated in the program so far. We hope to continue to add to this list!
- Communication Studies
- Computer Science
- Data Science
- Economics & Business
- Political Science
- Religious Studies
- Theatre Arts
Tuition for a semester on Westmont Downtown is the same as tuition on campus. Therefore, your financial aid package goes with you. If you have any questions, please contact Professor Ed Song at email@example.com
Students are required to live in the city of Santa Barbara during their semester downtown, either in the Ocean View apartments or in Santa Barbara. Sophomores will be in OV the semester they are downtown, while juniors and seniors have the chance to apply to be in OV all year. Seniors can also apply to off campus all year. Here are a couple things to keep in mind:
- If you choose to live in the city (not in OV), you are required to find your own living arrangements and the cost of living is not billed to you through Student Accounts. You are responsible to pay for all meal/food costs for the semester.
- Students participating in the program are permitted to live off-campus for the full school year (not just the semester downtown) to accommodate most lease agreements.
- Students living off-campus are still required to live according to the Community Life Statement signed upon entry to Westmont.
Students participating in Westmont Downtown are not required to purchase a Westmont parking pass for their semester downtown. However, students are still required to purchase a parking pass for the semester they are not in the program.
Parking in downtown Santa Barbara near the center can be tricky! There is a lot right outside the center, and it is paid parking (75 minutes free and then $1.50 for every subsequent hour). There are also several parking spaces on the street surrounding the center, but make sure to watch out for street sweeping hours!
If you have any questions about the program, please contact Dr. Ed Song at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 805/565-7071.
A 20-hour/week internship is the core of the program. Fulfills GE: Serving Society
Interns, in most situations, earn a small stipend. We will work together to ensure that your internship is a great fit—tailored to your discipline, career goals, and/or skills.
Fulfills GE Understanding Society
This seminar-style course explores a range of methods to resolve pressing social problems. We examine locally specific, solutions-oriented social change efforts and then place those efforts into global context. Class sessions, group activities, and assignments reinforce that we learn best by doing. In this vein, students gain skills—such as designing a business plan, setting SMART goals, and using innovative technology—while also situating social ventures into theoretical, historical, structural, and scriptural context. This seminar offers students the opportunities to start their own initiatives or enterprises.
Spring 2023 electives will be provided as needed to meet various General Education or major/minor needs of student participants. Please consult with Edward Song regarding possibilities.
Faculty and Staff
Rick comes to Westmont from Michigan, where he previously served as provost at Cornerstone University. He has also served as vice president at the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, where he supervised off-campus programs, and before that he was a Fulbright Scholar to Germany in 2004. A graduate of the Moody Bible Institute and the University of Michigan, Dr. Ostrander earned his Ph.D. in history at the University of Notre Dame. He speaks and writes frequently on Christian education, and his book, Why College Matters to God: An Introduction to Christian Learning, is widely used as a first-year text by colleges and universities.
When not working at Westmont Downtown, Rick can be found riding his road bike up the mountains above Santa Barbara.
Ed has worked closely with Westmont Downtown since 2017. He grew up in central Virginia and has degrees from Yale (BA), Oxford (MA), and the University of Virginia (Ph.D.). Before arriving at Westmont in 2013, he was an associate professor of philosophy at Louisiana State University. Ed is married to Felicia Song, who teaches in the sociology department at Westmont. They have two children. He is an avid runner, cyclist, and cook. His favorite color is blue; he isn’t ashamed to admit that he really likes 7-11 hotdogs; and he wonders why everyone in the world isn't a Free Methodist.
Kiah Jordan moved to Santa Barbara to attend Westmont College, where he graduated with Bachelors in economics/business and Spanish. While working for a local real estate investment firm, Santa Barbara Capital, he completed his Certified Financial Planner™ designation and found a passion for applying a holistic planning perspective to personal finances and business operations.
After completing his Master’s in Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, Kiah launched Impact Family Office to focus on the alignment of capital resources with an impact strategy by providing financial consulting, planning, strategic philanthropy, and infrastructure for individuals and businesses. Though his clientele have operations in Ethiopia, Sweden, and throughout the US, intentional and meaningful local impact is a primary focus for each of them.
In Santa Barbara, he has dedicated much of his time to startups and organizations focused on benefiting our local community. Kiah currently serves on the board of the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, is an Ambassador at the Impact Hub, completed the Katherine Harvey Fellows program in 2016, and was featured in the Pacific Coast Business Times 40 Under 40 in 2015. When not working he’s spending his time with his wife and three kids and playing soccer.
Aaron grew up in San Luis Obispo and has degrees from George Fox University (BA, Interdisciplinary Studies), Talbot Seminary (MA, Philosophy), and the University of Edinburgh (Ph.D., Education). He serves Santa Barbara Zoo as Chief Operating Officer. Keeping a toe in academics, Aaron teaches adjunct graduate courses for Miami University, serves as affiliate faculty for the Kurt Hahn Consortium for Values and Experiential Learning (Penn State), and pens the occasional academic piece.
Beyond his zoo work, Aaron spent a decade in secondary education, ran a small business, founded a service learning NPO, consults/coaches for a number of local organizations (culture, strategy, and strengths), serves as a Board Director for Kids Helping Kids, coaches club water polo, and writes kid’s books. He recently completed an Executive Leadership Development Program with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (2018), and was featured in the Pacific Coast Business Times 40 under 40 (2015).
Aaron and his brilliant wife (and Westmont alum) Janay have three children. They attend Santa Barbara Community Church. In the event that some portion of their lives goes un-programmed, you’ll find them enjoying life together – hiking, biking, paddling, skating, or surfing locally.
Jeff's earliest years involved disco dancing and stirring up trouble as class clown. Thankfully God intervened!
He is a California boy at heart growing up in San Jose and attending the University of California San Diego and San Jose State. He graduated from SJSU in 1980 with a BA in Religious Studies. He has served in various pastoral roles in Santa Barbara as well as working on the Westside with the Turner Foundation at the Village Apartments. Jeff currently serves as the Co-founder and Director of Initiatives for SB ACT and as a Pastor with Communitas International. He continues to work with and for the vulnerable in the city - focusing on assisting those experiencing homelessness and assisting the County's Human Trafficking Task Force.
Kelly Soifer lives in Santa Barbara, CA and is a Leadership Development Consultant and Coach. She is also a 30-year youth ministry veteran with the church and Young Life. She has taught practicum courses for Westmont since 2009 within the Religious Studies, and Kinesiology and Sociology departments, and has been a guest lecturer for Westmont Downtown since 2018. She has also spoken several times in chapel, and served as the speaker for First-Year retreat four years in a row. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa in English Literature from UC Santa Barbara well before you were born, and she has an MA in Theology from Fuller Seminary.
She does not own a car, choosing to ride her Italian scooter or bike instead. Her favorite vacations are to the national parks or Italy. She loves to cook. She also happened to own the best cat in the world – his name is Oliver. She has many photos, should you be interested.
Kelly is not a huge fan of social media, but you can find her on LinkedIn and Instagram, or at her website: www.ksleadershipdevelop.me.
The headquarters for Westmont Downtown are located in the Upper Downtown area at 26 W. Anapamu Street on the 3rd floor. Our facility is newly remodeled and includes state-of-the-art classrooms and technology. Designed with collaboration in mind, the space provides students, faculty, and community partners with the adaptability that helps innovators to thrive. It is just steps away from businesses, local government, start-up hubs, coffee shops, restaurants, shopping, museums, and public transportation. It is also less than a block away from the Westmont shuttle stop.