A hub of global impact innovation at the heart of a bustling University campus. A place where students, educators, and professionals dedicated to solving the world’s greatest challenges can explore and develop the solutions that will define the next era of human society. The Impact and Prosperity Epicenter at the University of Utah is the physical embodiment of Taylor R. Randall’s vision for the University of Utah to become a top 10 public university with unsurpassed societal impact.
Opening in the fall of 2024, the Impact and Prosperity Epicenter — a collaboration between the University of Utah’s Sorenson Impact Institute and the Center for Business, Health, and Prosperity — will be the realization of these goals and an incubator for innovation in the broader impact field. Today’s students want to participate in meaningful real-world work, and purpose-built residential communities that support these kinds of opportunities are at the leading edge of student experiences.
“We’ve designed the Epicenter not only as the headquarters for the Sorenson Impact Institute and the Center for Business, Health, and Prosperity, but importantly to attract, engage, and train the next generation of impact leaders in a new and transformational way,” says Geoff Davis, CEO of the Sorenson Impact Institute. “The Epicenter is a first-of-its-kind ecosystem where students will become equipped with the skills, mindset, experiences, and networks to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.”
Read on to learn about the many benefits and offerings the Epicenter will soon provide to University of Utah students, as well as its role in the broader professional impact community.
Launching Impact-Focused Professional Networks
Active professional networks are among the most critical factors for career success. Purpose-built residential communities provide a unique structure that builds networking into the very heart of the student experience. By making connections with fellow students focused on driving impact, students will form foundational relationships that will serve them throughout their professional lives. With regular networking opportunities with professors, other educators, thought leaders, and professionals, students who are part of the Epicenter community gain access to a rich base of knowledge, inspiration, and mentorship. And for professionals already working in the impact space, the Epicenter offers a connection point with the next generation of impact leaders.
Empowering Meaningful Action Now
The Epicenter was designed to offer a cutting-edge university experience that prepares students to be current and future changemakers, says Stephen Alder, executive director of the Center for Business, Health, and Prosperity. Students “want to be engaged personally in making a difference now, not just when they’re done with school,” he says. Rather than exclusively focusing the student experience on the future, through its innovative and immersive offerings the Epicenter will facilitate student action that is meaningful right now — and lays the groundwork for a lifetime of driving impact.
Enabling Lifelong Connections
Making lifelong friendships is a beautiful part of the university experience, and with residences for nearly 800 students, the Epicenter will serve as a thriving home for students to connect with others who share a passion for creating a more just and sustainable world. “Whether you are a finance student who wants to structure clean-energy transactions or a chemistry major who wants to scale science-based interventions into the mainstream, the Epicenter welcomes students from across campus, schools, and majors,” says Chad Salvadore, chief financial officer at Sorenson Impact Institute. From the community-oriented layout of the housing options to an array of socializing opportunities and workspaces, the Epicenter will provide ways for all kinds of students to connect — in large groups, one-on-one, and everything in between.
Offering World-Class Programming & Experiences
With events ranging from professional speaker series and global internship opportunities to impact investing pitches, solv-a-thons and film screenings, the Epicenter will house the world’s premier student program for social impact and prosperity. Its residents will enjoy priority access to programming opportunities and academic programs, including coursework related to the impact field, diverse and vibrant activities and events, student leadership opportunities, and more — all designed for undergraduate students from across disciplines interested in impact-driven education.
Providing a Modern Intentional Space
With a community-centric design and a central forum at the heart of the building, the Epicenter’s building design echoes its mission. The Epicenter will encompass 300,000 square feet of student-centric space, including collaborative and impact areas, training rooms, and a full-service public cafe. Seeded by anchor donations of $10 million each from Jim Sorenson and Robert and Lynette Gay, the building will be a beautiful, modern space designed for living and working with comfort and efficiency.
Connecting Leading Impact Organizations
Epicenter residents will have unique access to resources and opportunities offered by the Sorenson Impact Institute and the Center for Business, Health, and Prosperity — two globally recognized organizations driving actionable solutions to address pressing social issues.
The Sorenson Impact Institute helps organizations achieve their impact vision by connecting capital to social and environmental solutions, helping organizations measure, report, and improve impact, and integrating data science and people-centered storytelling into everything it does. As part of its mission to train future impact leaders, the Institute integrates academic programming and experiential learning into its practice areas.
The Center for Business, Health, and Prosperity (BHP) engages in local and global efforts to understand what promotes prosperity and apply this to some of the world’s greatest prosperity challenges. BHP provides students with world-class opportunities to apply their knowledge and develop their skills by joining its team as it pursues a more prosperous world.
Establishing a Home for Impact across the University
It isn’t just Epicenter residents who will benefit from this innovative on-campus resource. Students from across the University of Utah, regardless of their area of study, are invited to participate in the Epicenter’s offerings and gain the skills to promote societal well-being. By equipping students from across majors with the skills to drive positive change, the Epicenter offers an exciting opportunity to broaden the impact field. “There are no simple solutions to the critical issues our world faces,” Salvadore says. “Driving impact takes an ecosystem approach. The Epicenter draws on the collective expertise of impact investors, prosperity thought leaders, entrepreneurs, health professionals, policy experts, and applied researchers, just to name a few, and combines that experience with the broad diversity of students from across campus. Together, these create a dynamic ecosystem for change that embraces our connectedness to each other and the world around us.”
Student housing applications for the Impact and Prosperity Epicenter are open for the 2024-25 school year — learn more and apply here!