Women Leading in the 21st Century Explores Social Enterprises

Students in the Women Leading in the 21st Century class recently listened to a presentation from Upcycle Parts Shop, a nonprofit organization that serves as a creative reuse center, where teachers, artists and others can purchase unwanted materials to repurpose into art and craft supplies.
Upcycle Parts Shop is a business with a triple bottom line: good for the people, good for the planet, and good for the economy.

Artistic Director of Upcycle Parts Shop Nicole McGee and Therapeutic Art Educator Devon Fegen-Herdman discussed social enterprises, organizations that earn revenue and are committed to doing good. The students were tasked with creating a social enterprise while creating a product that would help make an impact in the community. The students were split into groups to determine what problem they would like to support. Using only the available materials, each group made a physical representation of their social enterprise. Through this activity, students gained innovative thinking and entrepreneurial skills.

Students excitedly presented their products to their classmates, which resulted in the following: creating jewelry which proceeds would benefit inner-city schools' arts programs; turning plastic containers into water bottles where the proceeds benefit children in low-income areas. One group focused on the resell of sports equipments with proceeds benefiting inner-city schools, another group emphasized music supplies for community events. The final two groups focused on the sale of donated toys for animals with proceeds benefiting animal cruelty and gathering donated plants, rejuvenating them and selling them with 10 plants purchased resulting in one tree planted. "Creativity comes alive with limitations," stated Artistic Director Nicole McGee.