Opening Minds

Quite a few Fellows have found or created positions to do their innovation work in their university. This story is an excerpt from Designing for Change.

When La Salle Fellow Onesimus Morrison was a sophomore, he attended a seminar on innovation and entrepreneurship taught by Professor Steve Melick, director of the La Salle Center for Entrepreneurship. 

The idea of entrepreneurship attracted Onesimus immediately. He connected with Professor Melick and worked with him on a student-run thrift store program. 

At the end of Onesimus’s sophomore year, Professor Melick asked him if he wanted to work part time on a project. He wanted a student’s input on something that would help students learn creativity and innovation.  

That project became La Salle’s first Open Minds Challenge, held in February 2015 and focused on promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and sustainable solutions. When he graduated in Spring 2016, Onesimus became a full-time program coordinator for the Center for Entrepreneurship.

In addition to co-organizing what is now the annual Open Minds competition, Onesimus also manages a team of La Salle students from different majors. These students help local companies with marketing, branding, finance and other business-related topics. 

This, Onesimus says, is beneficial to both parties; the work allows the students understand how start and run a business. 

Onesimus said that his position as a recent student helps him considerably in his work. “When you can see things from a younger generations’ viewpoint, it’s easier to have the right type of empathy or understanding of students’ needs,” he said. 

Another vital part of Onesimus’s job is designing new ways to benefit students, and seeing new opportunities for impact. As a Fellow, Onesimus worked with other La Salle Fellows including RJ Lualhati and Kenneth Brewer to turn an underutilized space in the basement of the library into a makerspace called the Innovation Factory.

“A lot of students think that innovation and entrepreneurship are these big scary business terms,” he said.

“It’s really important, and enlightening to me, that you can apply those terms to anything. I enjoy showing students that you can take whatever you’re passionate about, and turn it into something that will benefit you and others.”

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