Interview with Su Wang

Organizing team of SEED Summer Camp in 2016, where Su Wang is the second from the left

The beginning of SEED

The journey of SEED started with a reading group of students by Charles River in Boston, USA. The reading group was called North Shore, which, in Chinese, shared the spirit of the Left Bank of the River Seine in Paris (the gathering place of influential thinkers in the 1940s). SEED’s initial purpose was to study social science with a keen eye on applications to China. The students also thought about what they could do beyond scholarly work. Utilizing Boston’s access to many academic experts, the group organized a training camp, inviting professors to teach nonprofit management and how to look at social problems from various angles. The training camp was the first of SEED’s summer camps, which is their flagship program.

The first SEED Fellowship Summer Camp in Boston in 2012

An example of a SEED Fellow: Coordinating aid after natural disasters

To provide insight into their program, Su shared the story of an early-year SEED fellow who has a day job as a dentist but is also involved with coordinating aid for natural disasters.

Pushback against impact evaluations

As the social sector in China has expanded, social organizations have been encouraged to conduct impact evaluations of their programs. However, social organizations are often skeptical of conducting impact evaluations. Su explained,

Vision for SEED and China’s social sector

“My vision is that we could accompany the entire life cycle of someone who works in the social sector in China.” — Su Wang

The lifecycle of a social sector worker may start with a desire to learn about social problems and how these problems are addressed. Awareness of the problems may develop to a desire to volunteer at social organizations and build skills. Eventually, the social sector worker may want to start their own organization. SEED would like to help people at every step of this lifecycle. More specifically, the SEED Fellowship program has expanded into a comprehensive lifelong community support program with year-long community support and managing daily community engagement.



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MD4SG is a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary initiative working to improve access to opportunity for under-served and disadvantaged communities.