UCSD Introduces the New Changemaker Institute


Sabrina Wu

Established as a new campus-wide initiative, the Changemaker Institute was announced on Monday, Oct. 5 as an advancement to the Changemaker research, education and community program at UC San Diego. This organization will act as the core of the Changemaker programs that comprise a cross-disciplinary, school-wide effort to serve all colleges and divisions to create educational change throughout the campus community. 

According to Assistant Vice Chancellor Patricia Mahaffey, as educational ideas and change occur at UCSD, the Changemaker Institute will serve to identify and implement them.

“Changemaking is all about turning ideas into positive change whether that includes big ideas or small ideas, it all matters,” Mahaffey said in an email to The UCSD Guardian. “Changemaking is an ethos that we hope to cultivate throughout the campus community. We know change is happening in all corners of our university and the Changemaking Institute will work to educate, recognize and amplify these efforts for our students, staff and faculty.”

The Changemaker community works to create social innovation and seeks higher education throughout different institutions. Colleges and universities are chosen globally and are identified as Changemaker Campuses, which influences how students develop critical problem-solving skills. In 2017 The Ashoka Foundation, an initiative that includes a network of social entrepreneurs, designated UCSD as a Changemaker Campus to provide students skills to navigate complicated solutions. 

“Both the Ashoka U Changemaker Campus designation and the Changemaker Institute signify that UC San Diego is a thought-and-action leader in changemaker education, which seeks to empower students to lead and develop critical problem-solving skills,” Mahaffey said. 


One specific goal for the Changemaker Institute is to plan the establishment of the Global Changemaker Scholars Program, which is open to all undergraduate students. This program is to push students to use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as an overall idea for the curricular and co-curricular activities. 

Through the Co-Curricular Record, the collaborative team of Ashoka U Change Leaders have found over 300 changemaker student leadership positions that make for Changemaker Recognition. UCSD students that are interested in participating or want to learn more about Changemaking can visit a virtual Changemaker 101 workshop. 

As the Changemaker Institute begins, the Changemaking team will focus their research and work around the COVID-19 pandemic this year. They have programs planned for the students, staff, and faculty at UCSD.

“Our theme this year is Inspiring Changemaking for a Just and Equitable Future,” Mahaffey said. “We’ve identified 16 new Changemaker Faculty Fellows for this year who are all doing some amazing programs. More will follow soon on the Institute, the Fellow and all the great Changemaking programs planned.”

If you would like to learn more about the Changemaker Institute, please visit their website or contact them at [email protected]

Photo courtesy of UC San Diego.