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Changemaking & Whole Systems Sustainability: Changemaking

Changemaking for the Common Good



hero [ heer-oh ] (noun) a person of distinguished courage or ability who is admired for brave deeds and noble qualities

change agent [ cheynj ey-juh nt ] (noun) someone who works toward change or helps make change happen

role model [ rohl mod-l ] (noun) a person whose behavior or example can be admired by others who try to be like them

Why Changemaking

Our Vision

  • By embodying the belief that “everyone is a changemaker,” MDC is an active institutional agent of change, promoting a resilient community founded on an understanding of natural systems, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace.

Our Mission

  • To promote the development of skills and perspectives that take people beyond ordinary limits to make positive and relevant changes for themselves and their communities, no matter how big or small. 

What is unique about changemaking at MDC?

  • Changemaking at Democracy’s College is defined by the belief that everyone can become a changemaker, and by a respect for changemaking in all forms, big and small. This broad approach to changemaking is consistent with the diversity of the community that MDC serves, and with MDC’s track record of turning that diversity into life-changing opportunity for its 160,000 students and more than two million alumns. Changemaking is who we are and what we do at MDC.

In the context of Higher Education

  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Social Innovation
  • Service learning
  • Civic engagement
  • Social justice
  • Philanthropy

Young Changemakers challenge

The “Young Changemakers in 21st -Century Libraries” project application for participation is now open!

We are a collaborative team consisting of the Massachusetts Library System and Democratic Knowledge Project at Harvard University. For our “Young Changemakers in 21st -Century Libraries” project, we are inviting partner libraries that would be interested in working with us. The duration will be from January 1 through September 30, 2019. We are particularly interested in partnering with libraries that are passionate about helping teens address a variety of challenges from the new media environment and become successful civic agents in our society.

Supporting Departments at MDC

EEI/GSELS Earth Ethics Institute (EEI) supports student changemaking through various academic initiatives and co-curricular activities including: Global Sustainability and Earth Literacy Studies (GSELS) Learning Network; YES! for Environmental Sustainability student club; Earth literacy and sustainability-focused student project showcase events; guest speaker presentations and film screenings; Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy field experience; on-campus organic gardening service-learning opportunities; "immersion" field trips to various local sites; opportunities for students to attend local and regional conferences, workshops and presentations; interdisciplinary Earth Literacy and Sustainability elective course.

Through EEI, students, faculty and other members of the campus-wide community receive support, guidance, and resources to develop and implement changemaking efforts. In addition to the above-mentioned initiatives and activities, each semester EEI offers professional development for faculty and staff to support curriculum enhancement that further enriches students’ exploration of Earth literacy, global citizenship, ecological sustainability, and civic engagement.

iCED is a college-wide department that is responsible for myriad service and civic engagement programs at the college that ignite, empower, and transform faculty and students.  Academic service-learning (ASL) is at the heart of iCED.  Academic Service Learning is the engaged teaching process whereby faculty and students use their classroom knowledge and insights to work alongside community partners for mutual benefit.  Last year alone 7,500 Kendall Campus students contributed nearly 20,000 hours of service to the local community.  iCED also coordinates the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) to encourage and support college students to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Students create and submit “commitments to action” and if selected, attend the annual CGI U conference with college students from around the world.  iCED also offers multiple experiences including voter registration drives and alternative breaks to engage students as active citizen

The STEM Talent Opportunity Priority (TOP) grant program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education to promote and inspire the students at Miami Dade College Kendall Campus in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The program implements the following activities to enhance the STEM student experience: Peer-Led Tutoring (PLTL), STEM Undergraduate Research – PRISM (Program Research in Involved, Science, and Math), SCSE - Stem Center for Student Engagement, and Academic Support.

The Student Life department offers a wide array of Co-Curriculum student Changemaking opportunities that involve club involvement. Students can join an existing club or form a new club around passions, problem-solving while enhancing leadership and problem-solving skills.

Student Government Association

The Student Government Association is the voice of the student body and represents students' interests and concerns to the campus leadership. Through Student Government, students build leadership, organizational and communication skills. They also have the opportunity to represent the student body in campus, college, and statewide meetings. The Food Pantrynewly opened in January 2018, fully operates with the leadership of the SGA students. Kendall Campus Student Life is now accepting donations for our new food pantry. Needed items are canned food and hygiene products. For on-campus pick up of donations call 305-237-2321

Single Stop is a one-stop source for students and immediate family members to be connected to public benefits and local resources. Single Stop offers students a wide array of services including benefits screening, free tax preparation, financial coaching, Food Pantry for Students and health insurance assistance. In October 2010, Miami Dade College’s partnership with Single Stop USA was established and more than 30,000 students and families have benefited from the program's services to date.

Student Services

Student Recruitment has an opportunity to show how MDC can help students become better citizens. Through events like orientation the recruitment department showcases campus resources, and student life/club activities, those new students have access to which enables them to be change makers.

Student Advisement: Helping students to make a connection between their major and how it can impact their larger community. For the college to provide the resources (i.e. listing or resource guide) to show the resources we have on our campus for students to get involved and be more civically engaged.

Community Education and Professional Development

Teaching K-12 students the importance of protecting the environment at our nature facility.   Also fostering a learning environment during the summer camp regarding the impact of our actions on the environment.

Learning Resources provides access to crucial information on an array of topics to assist students and faculty in any of their Changemaking endeavors. Learning Resources also provides students with technology and areas for collaborative teamwork and individual reflection. In order for successful Changemaking to develop, research and action on a subject are necessary. Learning Resources provides students and faculty writing assistance and support to find, understand, and act upon issues affecting the global community.


Are You a Changemaker?


What responsibilities do individuals have to be informed?

What would make an ideal society?

How much should the government be able to control individual rights for the benefit of society?

How can we use literature to learn about ourselves?

What does peace feel like? Look like? How can I cultivate it in my community?

Four Levels of Impact

The Four Levels of Impact

A framework Ashoka developed to categorize different approaches at different levels to social impact. (See the Rethinking the Impact Spectrum by Marina Kim)

  1. Direct Service
  • Work in populations needing services, food, and/or a direct benefit to their wellbeing. Direct service has a clear and concrete feedback loop – you can see hungry people being fed; students are gaining skills and confidence through mentorship; or the clients getting legal help.
  • Examples: Soup kitchens, small-scale mentoring programs for students, legal services for community members
  1. Scaled Direct Service
  • Models that unlock efficiency and impact through well-managed logistics of an intervention or solution. Scaled Direct Service benefits large numbers of individuals.
  • Examples: The Red Cross, AmeriCorps, or large-scale refugee resettlement programs.
  1. Systems Change
  • A new model that is addressing the root cause of a problem. It often involves policy change, widespread adoption of a specific methodology by leading organizations in a sector, or creates new behaviors within an existing market or ecosystem.
  • Examples: Micro-credit was a fundamentally new innovation for women to lift themselves out of poverty. B-Corporations rethink corporate responsibility. Wikipedia democratizes the way information is shared online.
  1. Framework Change
  • Framework Change affects individual mindsets at a large scale, which will ultimately change behaviors across society as a whole. While Framework Change is not a specific field-level or country-level intervention, it compounds the work of many individual organizations to create a paradigm shift.
  • Examples: Universal Human Rights, Women’s Rights, Civil Rights, Democracy, or the idea of Social Entrepreneurship.

Social Innovation

Social Entrepreneurship

A type of changemaker who creates widespread impact by being focussed on systems change. Every social entrepreneur is highly skilled at collaboration, and is often focused on equipping others to thrive and collaborate in solving social problems (i.e. to be changemakers). (see More than Simply “Doing Good”: A Definition of Changemaker).

What is Changemaking?

Changemakers thrive on turning ideas into positive change, whether big or small. Changemakers are students like you. They take action. They make the world a better place for themselves and for others. You can do it at your own pace. And you can focus on what you care about most. At MDC we want all students to discover their changemaking powers. It’s fun and challenging for you. And it’s great for the community.

Changemaking happens when your desire for positive change intersects with your ability to make change happen. To be a changemaker, you need to want positive change, and you need to have the right set of skills and mindsets to help make that change happen. 


Universal Declaration of Human Rights


three concentric ellipses, described from the innermost circle to the outermost, all-eoncompassing one:  1) Social Entrepreneurship: market-based, usually sustainable; 2) Social Innovation: Methodology to create social value at systems-change level, potentially economic value; and 3) Changemaking:  Effective organizational or social change

Modern Day Heroes

10 Modern-Day Heroes Actively Changing The World



As children we all had our favorite superheroes. We loved them, worshipped them, pretended to be them, dressed them and even talked to them. Now that we're adults, we are all too well aware that heroes, are in high demand but can rarely be found. The overwhelming ugliness and depravity found everywhere in the world today, has desensitized us to the point where hardly anything seems shocking or repulsive anymore. Luckily we don't need superpowers or a cape to make a difference in the world. To accomplish heroic acts, all we need is a willing mind and a willing heart. Many of the courageous, self-sacrificing people on this list were nominated as CNN heroes. They have proven that an ordinary person can achieve extraordinary feats and make a difference in the lives of others. 


The absence of clean water and its consequent illnesses kills more children every year than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. These and other water crisis statistics encouraged Hendley, who was working as a barman, to raise money by pouring wine to promote and support water projects worldwide. As of 2004 his non-profit organization, Wine to Water, has worked in Sudan, India, Cambodia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Peru, South Africa and Kenya and they have implemented sustainable drinking water initiatives for thousands of people. The organization also responded to the 2010 Haiti earthquake by implementing water purification systems in the disaster areas. The organization also provides training to local workers in installing water purification systems, digging, fixing and maintaining wells and more. To date they have dug hundreds of wells in Cambodia, Africa and Peru—always making use of local workers to stimulate the economy.

9 Jorge Muñoz -USA

Jorge Muñoz arrived in America as an illegal immigrant in the early ’80s. He became a citizen in 1987. One evening as he left a bar he noticed all the destitute and illegal day laborers and the flame in his heart was lit. He found out that most of the men sleep under a bridge or in the Elmhurst Hospital’s emergency room and skimped on meals in order to send money to their loved ones at home. Since then, he has been cooking enough food to feed dozens of day laborers in Queens which he delivers at the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and 73rd Street in Jackson Heights every evening at 21:30. Munoz delivers the warm, cooked meals in rain, snow, thunder and lightning. He estimates that he has served food to more than 70,000 people since 2004. The whole operation is financed from the $600 he receives weekly for driving a school bus and donations. On August 4, 2010, Munoz was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Barack Obama.

Aki Ra - Cambodia

Aki Ra was a very young boy when he was chosen by the Khmer Rouge to become a child soldier. He laid thousands of mines and fought for the Khmer Rouge until 1983. During his time in the Cambodian army he received landmine clearance training with the United Nations and heard his true calling. Without any demining tools, he started to illegally clear and defuse mines and UXO’s in the areas he had fought with nothing but a knife, Leatherman and a stick. As his name and work became known, tourists flocked to his home to see the collection of defused artillery. Charging a dollar per person the Cambodia Landmine Museum came into being. To open the museum, Aki Ra had to cease his illegal clearing of the mines, but was able to establish a NGO—Cambodian Self Help Demining (CSHD) – and he is now certified to do his life’s work. Over the course of time, Aki Ra also adopted many of the injured and abandoned children he found in the villages he visited and today 29 children lives at the Cambodia Landmine Relief Center.

7 Pushpa Basnet -Nepal

Pushpa Basnet was an undergraduate in Social Work when she had to visit a female prison in Kathmandu as part of a college assignment. The sight of the prisoners’ children living behind bars along with their mothers urged her on to raise enough money to start The Early Development Center (ECDC) and Butterfly Home. These non-profit organizations provide a day-care program to the children and are a residential home for the older children to live in throughout the year. Pushpa’s organizations also aid and provide these children with school enrollment, meals and medical care. As of 2009 she is also teaching the incarcerated women handcrafts so as to enable them to generate an income to contribute towards raising their children. To date she has assisted more than 100 children.

6 Eugene & Minhee Cho - USA

Eugene and Minhee Cho have always been aware of the imbalances in the world. It was only when they started traveling and saw with their own eyes the “faces” of the people living in extreme poverty, that they founded One Day’s Wages—A non-profit organization based on the principal of donating one day’s wages to uplift and enable those in need. In 2009 they donated their entire yearly income to their cause just to let people know they wouldn’t ask something of others if they weren’t willing to do it themselves. To date, they have funded over 40 projects and in doing so have given nutritional support, provided HIV treatment and care, improved access to maternal care, provided clean water, funded lifesaving heart surgeries and provided an education to hundreds of individuals globally.

5 Narayanan Krishnan - India

Narayanan Krishnan was an award-winning chef on his way to a very bright future when the sight of an old and destitute man eating his own human waste out of hunger put his life on a different course. He quit his job during the next week and within a year he had founded the Akshaya Trust, which feeds and take care of the destitute and mentally disabled people in Mandurai, Tamil Nadu. He prepares and serves three warm and fresh vegetarian meals every day, which he often hand feeds to the people that he seeks out under bridges and other desolate and abandoned spots. Krishnan also carries a comb, scissor and razor with him to provide extra dignity to those he cares for. Today, Krishnan sleeps in Akshaya’s kitchen along with his co-workers, he has no income and scrapes by with the support of his parents. To date he has served more than 1.2m meals to India’s destitute.

4 Marc Gold - Bangkok, Thailand and USA

Whilst traveling in India in 1979, Marc Gold met a woman suffering from a terrible ear infection. He paid $1 for her antibiotics and a further $30 for a hearing aid that restored her hearing. It was at that moment that he came to the realization that you can do a lot with almost nothing. On his arrival back home, he sent letters to 100 friends and asked for donations he could use during his next trip. To date, Marc has been on 22 missions in 67 countries; he has raised nearly $600,000 and has purchased everything from bicycles and rice to sewing machines, schools and mosquito nets. As founder and director of the 100 Friends Project he simply goes looking for problems in the slums, at hospitals, clinics and orphanages. His only request is that recipients give back by helping others.

3 Rick Hodes - Ethiopia

In 1984 Dr. Rick Hodes went to Ethiopia to do relief work during the famine. He originally planned on working there for one year, but after realizing the African people’s extreme needs and knowing that he was uniquely qualified to help them, he stayed. After almost three decades, he still practices at hospitals in Addis Ababa and Gondor. He has served tens of thousands of people through immunization, family planning, community health, nutritional support and his specialist field—spine deformities. He was also partly responsible in ensuring the safe immigration of 14,000 Ethiopians via a historic airlift to Israel in 48 hours. His greatest passion however, remains to volunteer at Mother Teresa’s Mission for the Destitute and Dying where he cares for critically ill children that others have abandoned. During his time in Ethiopia he has adopted five children and he also supports and houses another fifteen whom he sees as part of his extended family.

2 Betty Makoni - Zimbabwe

Raped at the age of six and orphaned by the age of nine, Betty Makoni somehow managed to stay strong, survive and put herself through school by selling fruits and vegetables. In 1999 she founded the Girl Child Network (GCN) in response to Zimbabwe’s pandemic of child sexual abuse, especially that of young girls. Her organization is spread over 35 of Zimbabwe’s 58 districts. She has clubs at schools that informs girls and encourages them to speak out and report on abuse. She has also built three “empowerment villages” or homes for abuse victims whom she feeds, provides with medical care and educates. She has fought against the exploitation and abuse of girls at the highest levels of society, in the process becoming a target of state harassment and receiving many death threats. To date, Betty has saved more than 7,000 (some estimates say as many as 35,000) girls from abuse, child labor, forced marriages, human trafficking and sexual assault.

1 Razia Jan - Afghanistan

According to the United Nations, there were 185 documented attacks on schools and hospitals in 2012 by armed groups opposed to girls’ education. According to Razia Jan, she hears about girls attacked with acid or being poisoned every single day. Despite the threats, she opens the doors of her Zabuli Education Center every school day. In this 2-storey, 14-room building, 354 girls from the surrounding seven villages are receiving a free education. To keep students safe, Razia’s school is surrounded by a stone wall, there are guards and staff that open and inspect classrooms every day to check the air and water quality. They are so scared of poisoning that children are accompanied to the bathrooms to make sure they do not drink tap water. At the Zabuli Education Center, one year’s tuition fees per girl are $300. Razia covers the school fees through donations made to her non-profit organization, Razia’s Ray of Hope, based in the USA.