Connecting student changemakers to maximize social impact.

The Summit offers a wide variety of capacity-building programs ranging from hands-on workshops to individualized mentoring sessions.

Because projects brought to the Summit can be anywhere in the development process and tackle a host of different types of social challenges, Summit programming is customizable to each delegate. Once accepted, delegates will apply for and be placed in workshops relevant to their specific project and the goals they wish to accomplish.


These hands-on sessions allow delegates to learn and practice specific skills relating to all aspects of project development. From nonprofit management to grant writing 101 to effective branding, workshops give delegates the chance to work directly on their project design with industry experts guiding them the whole way.


Whereas workshops develop practical skills, seminars develop practical knowledge. Delegates hear from professionals in the field on topics such as impact assessment, fundraising strategies and asset-based community development.


Each day of the Summit features a TED-style talk by a prominent social entrepreneur who shares the delegates’ journey in the social change world and gives seasoned advice backed by years of experience, trial, error and success.


Each delegate workshops their project with a focus group of seven to eight other delegates. Led by a trained GES staff member, these small group sessions allow each delegate to receive personalized feedback from their peers, brainstorm solutions to the specific challenges their project faces and glean fresh insights through the power of outsider groupthink.


Each delegate works individually with an industry expert who provides constructive feedback and recommendations specific to that delegate’s project. These relationships often last long after the Summit ends, providing each delegate with a long-term professional resource to utilize throughout a project’s evolution.


At GES, we strongly believe in the power of community. Every night of the Summit features a social bonding event ranging from storytelling circles to Chicago outings, all with the aim of helping delegates develop a tight-knit network of like-minded changemakers eager to support each other’s projects as they continue into the future.


At GES, we strive to ensure the creativity and entrepreneurial energy doesn’t stop once delegates leave the conference. Not only are delegates connected to a wide range of GES alumni resources after the Summit — including access to a global network of GES alumni, past facilitators and institutional partners — but delegates also have the chance to receive tangible post-Summit assets and opportunities to further develop their projects after the Summit. We call these opportunities Outcomes.

Past Outcomes have included grants and investments to fund delegate projects, free marketing and content creation services, free sessions with established consulting agencies and fast-tracked application processes to prestigious conferences and fellowships such as Echoing Green.


GES is lucky to call the greater Chicago area its home. For four days before every summit, delegates have the opportunity to explore the Chicago social change scene along with several GES staff members. Engage is a great opportunity to get to know one of the world’s greatest cities while bonding with delegates and staff before the summit. Past programming includes visits to several local NGOs, a Chicago Cubs Baseball game, and an improv show. Enrollment is first-come, first-serve. Delegates who applied by the priority deadline are given preference.