Launch of Ashoka U Student Changemaker Stories Campaign

Contributed October 17, 2019 by Ashoka U, the higher education initiative of Ashoka.

This message marks the launch of our Student Changemaker Stories Campaign!

Over the next month, Ashoka U will publish weekly stories of individuals who have navigated breakthroughs, overcome challenges, and embraced dynamic experiences during their time as student changemakers. Our hope is that their stories, both personal and universal, will shift the narrative around what it means to be a changemaker and who can be one – on campus and beyond.

Week 1: Storytellers Across the Student Journey Spectrum

Today we are pleased to debut three of these student changemaker stories! The contributions, previewed below, showcase that there are no limits to how we can engage with and build changemaking experiences – as an undergraduate student, as a recent graduate, and as a professional PhD action researcher. Each author speaks to key factors and experiences that supported them to chart relevant pathways as students and co-leaders of changemaking.

Megan Simmons: Student Voices Unleashed – Activism as a Critical Part of Changemaker Education

Megan is a current undergraduate student at Barnard College and leading Student Voice’s “Tour Across America’s Schools” as their Director of Strategy. Our team was struck by Megan’s call for higher education to create new ways to support the efforts and valuable skillsets of working student activists. Read Megan’s story.

Nithya Vemireddy: Making Sense of the World We Live In

Nithya is a 2018 graduate from Santa Clara University (SCU) and recipient of the post-graduate American India Foundation’s William J. Clinton Fellowship for Service. Nithya’s story showcases two often under-represented changemaker tools, reflection and personal mentorship, as a key part of her changemaker journey on and off campus. Read Nithya’s story.

Simon Sizwe Mayson: Researchers as Changemakers – The Power of a PhD

Simon is pursuing his PhD at Wits University in Johannesburg. Our team was inspired by his commitment to pursuing a unique action research journey through his PhD with a focus on enabling a well-being economy. Simon reminds us of the significant role that researchers can play in innovating changemaker education. Read Simon’s story.

Our aim is for this campaign to spark lively discussions on campus, in classrooms, and across communities, related to these questions:


  • How might we break the stereotype of who changemaker education is for?
  • What are the myriad ways student leadership has, and will continue, to serve changemaking across campuses and communities?
  • Why are the contributions and needs of student changemakers so rarely recognized as equals to other higher education stakeholders?

Your Call to Action: As we prepare new content for you each week, we encourage you to share and interact with these stories online using #studentchangemakerstories and @AshokaU profiles. The more momentum we can build here, the more momentum for student changemaker perspectives everywhere!