Changemaker Fellows bring Thrive Academy State-wide

October 13, 2015

It’s been a month since the Changemaker Fellows were inaugurated by Senator Whitehouse. Already, this group of 11 student representatives from each campus across the state are catalyzing change in ways we never dreamed possible.

Most notably, the Changemaker Fellows are collaborating on an initiative to bring a student-led club, called Thrive Academy, state-wide. The club was originally started at URI’s Kingston campus by URI Changemaker Fellow Kyle Nacci two years ago. Originally called Big Thinkers, the club was founded to encourage people to find their passions and engage with difficult world-changing ideas and topics.

Thrive is a project incubator that helps you find your passion, connect with like-minded peers, create impactful projects, and find a job you’ll love. –

Thrive is currently being launched across seven campuses, each led by a Changemaker Fellow. The involved Changemaker Fellows meet weekly to strategize their approach and plan the expansion. A new logo was designed by NEIT Changemaker Fellow Tom Sulahian.

Thrive Academy is directly responding by an expressed need on campuses from students who are interested in social entrepreneurship but aren’t being provided with the resources to begin careers in social enterprise. Through encouraging the marriage of passion with vocation, Thrive Academy is helping students discover social enterprise and connect with local opportunities within the Rhode Island startup ecosystem.

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We continue to work to support Changemaker Fellows in their pursuits to bridge the gap between changemaker mentalities on campus and the entrepreneurial communities off campus. Changemaker Fellows have the opportunity to attend off- and on-campus events across the state. Already, we’ve sent Changemaker Fellows to Better World By Design, BIF (Business Innovation Factory), and Startup@Brown. More to come!

Cayla Mackey
University Initiative Director

As the Social Enterprise Greenhouse University Initiative Director, Cayla helps college and university students get involved in social enterprise. The University Initiative is a program funded by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation Innovation Grant to retain students and recent graduates in Rhode Island through enabling them to work on and in social enterprises. Learn more about Cayla here or email