New Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation Fellows program creates opportunities for more students to become changemakers in their communities

For nearly 100 years Lees-McRae has fostered a relationship with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation, an organization that seeks to ignite a passion for service in its young members, and support them through scholarships, awards, and changemaker training efforts. The relationship between the college and the foundation has evolved and grown throughout the decades and has recently entered a new era that seeks to support more students than ever before.

In previous years, the Sullivan Foundation has operated on a one-student-per-year model, resulting in a maximum of four Sullivan Scholars on campus at any given time. However, a new era of the Sullivan Foundation will be ushered in this year with the introduction of the Sullivan Fellows program.

Built on the same model of community, training, mentorship, and scholarship, the Sullivan Fellows program maintains the spirit of leadership and service that has always been at the center of the Sullivan Foundation and expands it to a larger cohort of students each year.

“The Sullivan Foundation has created a Fellowship model where the college will provide a scholarship for up to four students each year, beginning as sophomores, for the remaining three years of their degree program,” Campus Sullivan Coordinator Amy Anderson said. “The Fellows will work with the faculty liaison and the coaches at Sullivan to develop leadership skills, create social entrepreneurial programs, and participate in professional development. The former model provided for one scholarship each year, and now with the Fellowship model the campus will have a more robust cohort of students working toward entrepreneurial and changemaking endeavors.”

These endeavors are what makes being a Sullivan Fellow so special, and where these Fellows get their designation as “changemakers.” The three-year journey Sullivan Fellows will embark on includes a handful of retreats and conferencesincluding annual Ignite Retreats where Fellows bond with other members and learn how to create positive change in their communities over a weekend. These retreats are amazing opportunities for students to grow and foster their ideas and goals, something that is exemplified in Sullivan Scholar Timon Jones’ student entrepreneurship organization, The Dreamer’s Club, which was borne out of the 2022 Ignite Retreat.

Most recently, Anderson took Jones and two other current Sullivan Scholars, Jaylin Stewart-Cooper and Matthew Knafelz, to the Sullivan Foundation Showcase and Field Trip in Charlotte, North Carolina, where they mingled with Sullivan Foundation alumni and visited social entrepreneurship programs in the Queen City. This gave the students an inside look at the possibilities for their own futures through the Sullivan Foundation.

This year’s Ignite Retreat will be held in Black Mountain, North Carolina, Friday, April 14−Sunday, April 16, and there is no limit to the ideas and goals that could come to life over that weekend.

In addition to these getaways, another major update to the Sullivan Foundation’s model is the introduction of study abroad opportunities, which seek to broaden Fellows’ world views and teach them about changemaking from a new cultural perspective. Studies abroad get students out of the classroom and learning lessons in the real world, a fundamental component of a Lees-McRae education. According to the Sullivan Foundation website, this month-long experience will focus on four critical concepts: leadership in practice; principles of impact entrepreneurship and innovation; effective community engagement and assessment; and storytelling and communicating for change. This year’s study abroad experience will whisk Sullivan Fellows off to Strasbourg, France from Sunday, June 24 through Saturday, July 22.

With the start of the new Sullivan Fellows program this year, more students than ever before will have a chance to take advantage of all the opportunities, resources, and adventures the Sullivan Foundation has to offer, and it is not too late to join this amazing group of changemakers. The deadline for applications to join the upcoming cohort of Sullivan Fellows is Monday, May 1 and applications are open to current first-year students.

Apply to become a changemaker today

By Maya JarrellApril 04, 2023
AcademicsCampus Life