Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Results of Community Based Team Projects

Ariel, Linnea and Pamela
Students in my SPAN 232 course, "Spanish & Entrepreneurship: Languages, Cultures & Communities," have to do a team project in addition to their 28 hours of community service learning work. These are the results of one of the teams from Spring 2014. The intent is to have them go through the entrepreneurial process on a small scale, create something of true value, and develop their teamwork skills. --Ann Abbott


Our group’s goal was to write a case study about Brittany Koteles, a 2011 Illinois graduate who has now focused her life on social entrepreneurship. To begin, we researched Brittany’s work on Ann’s blog and combed through some documents we found online about her experiences and accomplishments. At University of Illinois, Brittany designed her own major: public and community service and well as Spanish. After graduating college, Brittany did a Fulbright in Barcelona and studied the best practices in social entrepreneurship as it relates to Spain. Brittany has helped to author a book called “Changemaking 101” which is aimed at students interested in social entrepreneurship. This book is sponsored by Ashoka University, an organization in which Brittany is very involved helping catalyze social change through higher education. Brittany and a partner created a short film about a man who painted his neighborhood’s stairs in color only to have them painted over by the government. Based on a true story, the goal is to make the story known and bring color into the world. They funded the film through crowd-sourcing on

So what?

Brittany Koteles is a prime example of how we can take our SPAN 332 class to the real world. There are endless amounts of opportunities for entrepreneurship that can be our future. It is important to understand social change and its ability to change our word. From our community based learning, we now have the potential to make a difference. We have experience and common interests that Koteles shared as well. As an UIUC alumni, Koteles is an excellent example of how to get involved in our communities and our world. Building this case study on Koteles illustrated that it is possible to take what we have learned thus far in SPAN 332 to the next level. It is important to see Koteles successes and understand the importance entrepreneurship has for a possible career. Seeing real life examples of success of a fellow Illini student can give inspiration to others that are interested in the same career field. Overall, this project was an interesting approach to learning about new opportunities that exist with entrepreneurship and social change.

Now what?

One of the lessons that we have learned from this project is that we must take advantage of every opportunity that is given to us and utilize them to make a change in the world. Our research with regards to Brittany Koteles has inspired us to not only traverse outside of our daily norms, but also adapt unfamiliar ideologies and states of mind that will be rewarding in the long run. In addition, Ms. Koteles’s attitude towards entrepreneurship and life in general has given us the impression that it is more important to be selfless than selfish and we hope that future SPAN 332 students will be able to take as much out of the case study as we did. Our time with this project has developed us on a professional and personal level and, as we venture on our individual journeys, we know that we will be able to use everything that we have learned from this case study and SPAN 332 as a whole to help ourselves to grow as human beings and to assist others with leaving their respective marks on the world

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