My Experience @ Ashoka U Exchange 2017, Miami!

Hello, I am Shirley – the first graduate of our Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation course and now a Master of Project Management student. I am thankful to be given the recent scholarship to the Ashoka U Exchange 2017 conference in Miami, FL.

Here some highlights of the trip:

Highlight #1 – The Power-packed Conference (Known as the ‘Exchange’)
This conference has provided an incredible opportunity for us to embody empathy and learn from the diversity of backgrounds represented and experience the power of collective action. Over the 3-day conference, 700 educators, social entrepreneurs and students of 140 universities/colleges from around the world came together to share their stories, to learn from one another and to collectively exchange ideas on how to bring transformation to our community and campuses. There were so many different programs and sessions to choose from each day including keynote sessions, best practice sessions, master classes, current events series and site visits. I’ve gained great insights throughout the conference and the experience was valuable!

Highlight #2 – CQUniversity, officially an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus 
It’s an honour to be a part of the designation ceremony to witness this special day as CQUniversity was accredited as the first Australia-Pacific Ashoka U Changemaker Campus. It’s a big deal… So proud of our university for achieving this milestone! 🙂

Highlight #3 – The Presidents & Senior Leaders Networking event
I was glad to be selected to attend this special event, it was truly a precious opportunity for me to connect with other university presidents to share and learn from them on how to build their universities or colleges to become a social innovation hub. As the saying goes, ‘If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.‘ The best way to accelerate success is to learn from those who have gone before us.

Highlight #4 – In the end, it’s all about love…
One of the key takeaways for me is to be reminded that the fundamental value that drives and motivates all Changemakers and Social innovators should always be LOVE. 🙂

My final thoughts: For our university to sponsor 11 students to attend a 3-day conference in the USA with flights and accommodation covered was indeed a significant investment and shows commitment to the Social innovation agenda as a Changemaking campus. Social Innovation is not a new program nor the latest fad, but it’s an integral part of our CQUni’s ethos.

It’s an exciting season to be part of our Changemaking campus as we are on the quest to change the landscape of higher education and to make “everyone a Changemaker” possible. Together, we can make a difference! 🙂

-Shirley Boon

Shirley (

Changemaker, Photographer, Explorer and Lover. A Malaysian-Born Chinese. Graduated from Graduate Cert. in Social Innovation and now pursuing Master of Project Management in #CQUni. #LoveLife #LeadingChange

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