On Sunday, the Clutch Collaborative (Clutch) hosted a conference on social entrepreneurship, innovation and global citizenship featuring two keynote speakers, Max Schorr ’99, Co-Founder of GOOD, and David Scheffer, former U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues. Clutch also prepared nine workshops to give students a chance to interact with social entrepreneurs.
Workshop topics ranged from food as a platform for social change, community development and organizing, marketing and sustainability.
“I think the people who wanted to learn more about social entrepreneurship were able to find meaning in the presentations and [the] workshops,” said Elaine Sohng ’13, a co-head of Clutch. Along with Sohng, Suzanne Wang ’13 and Jordan Boudreau ’14 are also Co-Heads.
Wang initially created the club with the intent to make an organization on campus about social innovation. Sohng and Boudreau decided to collaborate with Wang to host a single conference on social entrepreneurship.
Boudreau, Sohng and Wang contacted local organizations dedicated to finding innovative solutions to social problems, said Sohng.
“Having [the conference] be a completely student-driven program was an extremely rewarding experience, yet at the same time incredibly challenging. Hopefully, we laid a solid foundation for other students to continue our work,” said Sohng.
The Clutch Conference was made possible by a $6,150 Abbot Grant received in Fall 2012, according to a previous article in The Phillipian.
Max Schorr ’99
“It is no longer about one Gandhi or one Martin Luther King making a difference in the 21st century, but rather about every single one of us doing our part in our everyday lives,” said Max Schorr ’99, co-founder of GOOD, as he shared his personal experiences as a social entrepreneur with the Andover community.
GOOD considers itself to be a platform for making a difference in the world. It consists of two components. The first is marketed to the general public as an online community, where people can post their own ideas on ways to improve the world, and it also includes a quarterly printed magazine. The second component is GOOD Corps, a media platform that acts as a think tank and consultation service for various organizations hoping to become both profitable and socially responsible, according to the GOOD and GOOD Corps website.
Schorr kicked off the Clutch Collaborative conference by encouraging students to become interested in social entrepreneurship and think about making a difference in the world.
“Coming through Andover and out of college, I was faced with the dilemma of how to achieve a level of financial success [while] at the same time doing good for the society,” said Schorr.
He continued, “There is this idea in people’s mind that if you were making money, there is absolutely no way you could be meaning to help the world. But neither paths suited me perfectly.”
With his determination to find a combination of the two goals that were considered polar opposites at the time, Schorr began to look into the field of social entrepreneurship.
Ben Goldhirsh ’99, the other co-founder of GOOD and a close friend of Schorr’s at Andover, proposed the idea of creating a network of people who all have the common goal of doing good for the community.
“The term good-doer was a pejorative term in our society and we wanted to bring this model that we learned while growing up at Andover: that doing good was cool,” Schorr said.
“Increasingly, the line between searching for self-comfort and being a social good-doer is disappearing, and I think [this] fact is very encouraging. It is important for people to realize that they are not alone in this desire to do both,” Schorr said in an interview with The Phillipian.
“I wanted people, especially students who are the next generation leaders, to feel like they can go out and actually make a difference in the community,” he said.
Addressing the challenges he faced as he worked to establish and publicize GOOD, Schorr encouraged the students to find a passion that will allow them to push through the inevitable challenges and setbacks life presents.
“You have to tap into your meaning. You have to have some sort of inner strength to keep going, especially because when doing social entrepreneurship work, you are going to experience a lot of poverty firsthand,” he said.
Schorr said he first found his passion for social work on an Andover school trip to South Africa. “I remember looking out the window of the car as we drove down the street of Soweto and seeing things like tin-roofed houses. I have never seen such poverty of this nature before, and I was confused because one one level, how can people have to live in such situations like this, but on the other level, how come they look so much happier than people I know back home,” said Schorr.
Growing up as a faculty child on Andover’s campus and then later attending the school, Schorr said that Andover grew to be something more than just school for him. Andover is and will continue to be his home, his “meaning” that helps him persevere through all difficulties, he said.
Schorr said that he was extremely excited and honored to have the opportunity to speak at such a meaningful place for him, especially since his mother, Natalie Schorr, Instructor and Chair in French, will be retiring this year after 40 years working as a teacher at Andover.
After reading “How Nations Behave” in the Harvard Library, David Scheffer, Director of the Center for International Human Rights, Professor of Law at Northwestern University School of Law and former U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues, discovered his passion for both law and foreign policy. Inspired, he decided to dedicate his life to international criminal justice—bringing the architects of mass atrocities to justice.
Scheffer has since helped to create five major tribunals: the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts Cambodia (ECCC), the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Special Court of Sierra Leone.
During his presentation on Sunday, Scheffer said, “Within the last 20 years, we have changed the world—there is no longer the presumption of leadership impunity in the world. Yes, there will be leaders who get away with crimes against humanity, some who even die without ever having to enter a courtroom, but that is a reality. It is a slow process, but frankly over the past 20 years we have gone warp speed on this issue.”
“Timing is everything. If you miss the opportunity to deal with any atrocities you will be overwhelmed with the reality of the disaster,” he added.
Scheffer shared several experiences, including those while working as U.S Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues and within the International Justice System. .
“I know that one of your great challenges here at Phillips is that you have a lot to study and a lot to accomplish and engage in, but I believe the biggest favor you can do yourself right now, at this stage of your life, is build a vision,” said Scheffer.
“You don’t have to travel around the world to build a vision. You can build a vision in the library,” he continued.
He said, “There was one moment where I either had to seize that original vision of pursuing international criminal justice or I had to sacrifice it for the rest of my life. I was either going to become a partner of the law firm or pursue that vision that I had way back in college.”
Scheffer chose to leave the law firm to travel to Washington and follow his dreams. Since leaving the law firm, he has not only traveled around the world, but has also worked with several influential people including Madeleine Albright, former United States Secretary of State.
“I want people today to be inspired to help the world through their careers based on their vision. I also wanted to bring to this audience’s attention that although the unfortunate reality is that there are atrocities on our planet, there are measures being taken, such as the creation law tribunals,” said Scheffer.
Scheffer is also an instructor of International Human Rights Law and International Criminal Law at Northwestern University.