On the corner of Townsend and something in San Francisco, Zynga now has its huge red dog gazing down upon me as I ride past on my way to the train, and I can’t help but think of the $2 billion Facebook, at least on paper, paid for Instagram, an application/social networking picture site, while the Oakland Unified School District closes five elementary schools. My friend, a counselor there, told me about an eight-year-old boy who lives across the street from a school that’s closing. So distraught by losing his school, teachers, friends, counselor, etc., instead of coming to school, he just watches and waits to say goodbye to her and others as they leave.
When did money and value become so disconnected?
A few weeks ago, I went to a financial planner for the first time in my life. When I received my “personal needs analysis,” my assets were added up and my “total net worth” determined. I’m “worth” far less than Bill Gates, but far more than the boy whose school closed.
Kickstarter raised $7 million for a watch that displays what’s on your iPhone. Is that really necessary, valuable? Seems like the same overvalued $2 billion for Instagram, right? It is, but it’s not. In addition to the wristphone, they’ve also enabled individuals to fund projects like 99% Invisible, a radio show devoted to making “radio that inspires mindfulness and wonder in all the things in the built world.”
During this commencement time of year, students are thinking about what they are going to do. If you’re not graduating with a Computer Science or Engineering degree or going into investment banking, post graduation jobs typically aren’t plentiful or well paid, so graduate school will often be next.
Of course, the fact is that the first job you take right after college is very unlikely to be your last, but it still seems like a daunting task, especially for those interested in doing something they feel will change the world for the better. David Brooks, who writes for The New York Times, explores—though I’m not convinced that successfully—whether students are asking the right question(s) when it comes to the seeming conflict between the private (especially financial) sector and the non profit in “The Service Path.” See also the Rob Reich discussion had with Stanford students on this issue: “Is the Liberal Arts to Blame for Sending so many Stanford students into Finance & Consulting?”
What do you think?
The Ripples to Waves Program on Social Entrepreneurship, created and sponsored by Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL), is bringing together a diverse group of entrepreneurs interested in social change, the Stanford Entrepreneurs in Residence (SEERS).
For more details, please read “Academia Meets Activism,” printed in the Stanford Daily on April 19, 2012. To learn more about each of the residents and the program, see “Four social entrepreneurs to join Stanford research community this spring” on CDDRL’s website.
This Friday, May 25, 2012 from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm, please come to the Donald Kennedy Conference Room in The Haas Center for Public Service to hear the Public Service Scholars and the Andrea Naomi Leiderman Fellow present their Senior Honors Theses
10:00 to 10:25 AM – Andrea Naomi Leiderman fellow Presentation:
“Teaching Truth to (Em)Power: Engaging At-Risk Youth in Creating Community Change”
- Michael Tubbs (Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity), under the guidance of Bryan Brown, H. Samy Alim and Tania Mitchell
10:30 to 11:45 am – Panel I
“The Short-Lived Community School: Limits of Schools as Social Interventions, 1889-2012”
- Jaclyn Le (Political Science), under the guidance of David Labaree
“The Birds, The Bees, And Everything In Between: Exploring The Factors That Influence The Sex Education Experiences Of African-American Youth”
- Mia Shaw (Human Biology), under the guidance of Lisa Medoff and Jennifer Wolf
“Exploring the Civic Identity Development of Diverse Youth in Service-Learning”
- Naomi Shachter (Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity), under the guidance of Anthony Antonio and Tania Mitchell
12:00 to 1:00 pm - LUNCH WILL BE SERVED
1:15 to 2:30 pm – PANEL II
“Sensitivity and Specificity of QuantiFERON-GIT with Addition of Pathogen Associated Molecular Patterns (PAMPS) in Diagnosing active mycobacterium Tuberculosis Infection”
- Lauren Platt (Human Biology), under the guidance of Niaz Banaei and Madeline Slater
“History, Violence, Land: Explaining Local Conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo”
- Caity Monroe (History), under the guidance of Richard Roberts and Sean Hanretta
“Transnational Identity: Intergenerational Differences in the Indian Tibetan Diaspora”
- Tenzin Seldon (Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity), under the guidance of Tanya Luhrmann and Tania Mitchell
2:45 to 4:00 pm – PANEL III
“Deconstructing Illness Experience: Exploring How Migrant and Seasonal Farm Workers in Oregon Perceive Diabetes”
- Rahael Gupta (Human Biology), under the guidance of Donald Barr
“How Parent’s Speech to Infants Varies with Socioeconomic Status and Relates to Children’s Language Outcomes”
- Stacey Christiansen (Human Biology), under the guidance of Anne Fernald and Adriana Weisleder
This is a short list of sites that feature academic organizations and projects devoted to using the humanities and social sciences to address and promote social change.
The Environmental Humanities Project
Stanford University’s Environmental Humanities Project provides a forum for an interdisciplinary approach to environmental issues.
Imagining America is a consortium of 89 colleges and universities, and their partners, that emphasizes the possibilities of humanities, arts, and design in promoting knowledge that contributes to the public good.
Scholar as Citizen
Scholar as Citizen is University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Professor William Cronon’s blog. On it he “reflects on the public practice of history and the ways in which academic scholarship in his chosen fields of history, geography, and environmental studies can offer useful perspectives on contemporary political debates.”
The Social Science Research Council
(SSRC) is “an independent nonprofit organization devoted to the advancement of social science research and scholarship.”
The Performing Arts and Social Justice (PASJ) Major
PASJ is only undergraduate program in the US that trains young artists to use their craft to help create a just society. This page’s photo pictures a performance of MANALIVE: from incarceration to the flight of imagination created in part by Assistant Professor Amie Dowling.