Grace Philipp, (RHS ’07, Grinnell College ’12), and her college team, Social Entrepreneurs of Grinnell, came in 3rd place out of thousands of entries in The White House Sponsored National Campus Champions of Change Competition.
Champion of Change
Grace Philipp, (RHS ’07, Grinnell College ’12), and her college team, Social Entrepreneurs of Grinnell, came in 3rd place out of thousands of entries in The White House Sponsored National Campus Champions of Change Competition. Most of the entries were from colleges and universities that are much larger than Grinnell, an Iowa college with about 1,600 students.
The White House honored Philipp and four other young leaders for outstanding leadership on their college campuses. The winning projects were chosen by the public and were judged for being an embodiment of the President’s goal to win the future.
“All Across America, college and university students are helping our country out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world,” President Obama said. “I hope this challenge shines a light on their efforts, and inspires Americans of all ages to get involved in their communities.”
On March 15, the top five teams went to the White House to meet President Obama and present their projects. They will be featured by mtvU and MTV Act and given the opportunity to host an episode of mtvU’s signature program, “The Dean’s List.”
Social Entrepreneurs of Grinnell, a student-sponsored micro-finance organization, started a local micro-finance lending program. The Emergency Loans Project provides temporary financial assistance to people without adequate access to traditional borrowing options. It serves as an alternative to predatory lenders by making small, zero-interest loans to members of the Grinnell community to help them achieve financial sustainability. Without these loans, the recipients, many of whom are considered “unbankable” in the commercial world, might slip into joblessness or homelessness. So far, the Emergency Loans Project has helped 25 individuals, loaning a total of over $13,000.
Philipp is president of Social Entrepreneurs of Grinnell. Her team elected her to represent them on the panel of winners.
She described the experience as “absolutely incredible. I was very excited to be on a panel at the White House and can’t begin to describe how honored I am that President Obama took the time to meet with us. It truly was a testament to the potential that our projects have for accomplishing social change.”