The mission of GES is to build the capacity of the next generation of global change leaders. By providing tangible skills training and connecting driven students with innovative thought leaders, GES strives to empower students to make the change they wish to see in the world, and produce responsible solutions to shared global problems.
What is GES?
GES, founded in 2005, is completely student-founded, student-organized, and student-run by a team of 50-60 Northwestern undergraduate students. Through our annual Summit, yearlong programming, and staff curriculum, we build the capacity of the next generation of global change makers. Delegates and staff come together to understand the challenges of and opportunities for their engagement; to hone the skills and mindsets that will enable them to better plan, execute, and participate in change-based projects; and to connect with like-minded peers from around the world. GES is the only conference of its kind for students, as it not only provides them with the tangible skills and resources to move beyond good intentions towards action, but also equips them to think more critically about their efforts and ask the right questions when going out and making change in the world.
Every April, approximately 80 student delegates from universities across the globe come to Northwestern University, each with their own community development project or social entrepreneurship venture that they hope to bring to the next level. Delegate projects range in topic, regional focus, and stage of completion (idea, planning, implementation, and execution). The Summit features a week of capacity-building workshops, critical discussions, community building and networking, and outcome resources. GES is personally tailored to each delegate’s interests, on topics ranging from “social impact metrics” to “blending for-profit and non-profit models” to “using social media for social good,” and connects them with mentors that are leaders of various social change organizations.
Throughout the year, in addition to our annual Summit, GES provides staff members of our thirteen different teams with the same tools, skills, and training as provided to delegates at the Summit. With a comprehensive curriculum that includes dynamic workshops, leadership training, current events analysis, and provocative discussion, staff is provided with a working knowledge of community development and global issues, as well as a powerful and supportive community dedicated to social change. Supplemented by multiple events held on NU’s campus throughout the year for the broader Northwestern community, as well as alumni gatherings that we organize regionally and worldwide, GES staff and NU students are offered a unique forum for discussion as well as the resources and opportunities needed to make the change they want to see in the world.
First started in 2010, GES Day is world-wide celebration of social change and engagement. In 2011, staff planned a “mini-Summit” for the Northwestern Community with a full schedule of workshops and a keynote.