Global Social Benefit Fellow wins Fulbright


Senior Ty Van Herweg, an economics and theatre double major and English minor from Woodinville, Wash, who will go to villages in Uganda for a project to help entrepreneurs get their products to rural customers, known as “last mile distribution.” The project will utilize a phone app, with the aim of increasing incomes of rural entrepreneurs and motorcyclists who deliver products.

Van Herweg credits his experience as a Global Social Benefit Fellow through SCU’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, with helping him win the Fulbright to Uganda, where he traveled for a summer as a Global Social Benefit Fellow to help social entrepreneurship business Banapads.

On April 30th, Ty gave a speech at the Magis event about what the Miller Center and the Global Social Benefit Fellowship means to him and his classmates. The transcript is below.

Ty Van Herweg: Hello. How’s everybody doing this evening? Good to hear. My name is Ty Van Herweg, and I am an economics/theatre double major who was and will also be a Global Social Benefit Fellow. Thank you. I want you to imagine that you are in rural Uganda. That’s where I was last year. And in case you didn’t know, in Uganda, it gets really hot. One day I found myself dripping with sweat on my way to purchase some bottled water from Grace Maliboa. Grace was one of the original Banapad champions who eventually sold so many sanitary pads that she expanded her business into a storefront. Every morning I walked to her store and every time, Grace meeted me with an eager smile and a lively presence.

One morning, it finally clicked in my head. Grace’s smile reflects the power of entrepreneurship. This is the gift of entrepreneurship.

The Global Social Benefit Fellowship combines two quarters of academically rigorous research with a fully funded six to eight weeks summer field experience in the developing world. It is a program that evokes the Jesuit educational tradition in a way that directly benefits social enterprises that are affiliated with the Global Social Benefit Institute.

The Fellowship inspired me to ditch my plans of going to law school. So, sorry, I won’t be starting a winery. And instead pursue entrepreneurship. I realized that I needed to take a risk and go after something I love, even if it doesn’t make complete rational sense.

But I’m only one of fifteen fellows in my cohort. I’d like to shed light on every team’s achievement and their affiliated social enterprises.

Lisa and Ilhan poured their hearts into studying Nazava water filters in Indonesia. Catherine, Rose, Garrett, and Sally traveled to the Philippines and weaved a close partnership with Rags2Riches. Alex and Kiara discovered the power of light by working with Iluméxico in Oaxaca. Matt and Holly engaged with challenging factory conditions alongside Good World Solutions in Bangalore, India. Rosella, Monet, and Catherine worked with Anudip and Imerit to bring valuable workplace talents to women in Calcutta, India. Finally, Casey, Caroline, and I learned what impactful, affordable sanitation is by growing alongside Banapads Ltd in Uganda. Impressive stuff.

All of these experiences helps our impressive cohort of fellows to discover their vocational paths while  gaining valuable experience in the developing world. All these students are in the audience today alongside fellowship alumnae. Will the Fellowship alumni in the 2014 cohort of fellows please stand up for recognition? Thank you. Now will the 2015 class of fellows please stand up? Let’s wish them the best on their journeys and research projects this summer.

Thank you, Anne Bowers and friends for making our experiences a reality.

We are forever grateful for the opportunities we have received and the doors they have opened. Thank you.