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Social Impact

The Social Impact Practice Area at the Wond’ry empowers students to explore the complexity of social and environmental challenges through experiential learning and research.

Through creative opportunities built on the principles of human-centered design and systems thinking, the Wond’ry Social Impact Practice Area allows undergraduate and graduate students to engage in Vanderbilt’s culture of service and exploration. Here, student-led research and innovation drives positive social, economic, and environmental change in Nashville and beyond.


The Social Impact Practice Area offers three core programs during the academic year: the Social Venture Think Tank, the Map the System Competition and the new Coffee Equity Lab. We also partner with the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures on the annual HULT@Vanderbilt Competition and offer a number of other events and workshops. Read below to learn more.

Social Venture Think Tank

The Social Venture Think Tank (SVTT) is a competitive consulting-style program wherein student teams work with a Nashville-based non-profit to design new technological capabilities that help achieve meaningful impact in the Nashville community. Beginning Fall 2020, the Social Venture Think Tank will partner with Change++ to expand the development of technological innovations.

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Map the System Competition

Map the System is a global social entrepreneurship competition that trains students to  understand complex social challenges and identify solutions to address them. Vanderbilt University partners with the University of Oxford to bring this program to campus. The University of Oxford is the host of the Global Map the System Competition. The winner of Vanderbilt’s on-campus competition is eligible to compete in the global finals held each June at the University of Oxford in England.

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Coffee Equity Lab (Pilot Beginning in Fall 2020)

The Coffee Equity Lab is a new experiential learning and research lab housed in the Wond’ry Social Impact Practice Area. Through research opportunities, field-study programs, co-curricular programs, and events, The Lab offers innovative pathways for students to examine the pressing issues shaping our world through the lens of the coffee industry: climate change, global trade, equity and justice in economic life, and more. From Fall 2020 through Spring 2021, the Lab will partner with the Scholarship for Everyday Life series at the Robert Penn Warren Center to run a series of coffee lectures, experiences, and design opportunities. Visit the link below to learn more and apply.

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HULT@Vanderbilt Competition

The Wond’ry supports the Turner Family Center for Social Venture’s annual coordination of the HULT@Vanderbilt Competition. The HULT Prize is a global case competition hosted by the Hult Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to launching the world’s next wave of social entrepreneurs. The competition challenges students to develop innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. The Hult Prize Competition at Vanderbilt is a preliminary competition, with the Vanderbilt winner advancing to the regional competition. The ultimate HULT prize is $1M in seed funding to implement the proposed solution.

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We build partnerships with non-profits, social enterprises, businesses, public offices, student organizations, faculty and staff, and community members who are committed to affecting positive social, economic, and environmental change. We extend thanks to all of our on- and off-campus partners!

Social Venture Think Tank

On-campus Partners