Three Important Pillars

Founded in 2005, GES is completely student-organized and student-run by a team of roughly 80 Northwestern undergrads.

There are three important pillars of what we do, and through these initiatives, we are empowering the next generation of young global change-makers: our generation.  Delegates and staff come together to understand challenges of and opportunities for engagement, both globally and domestically; to hone the tools and mindsets that will enable them to better plan, execute, and participate in change-based projects; and to connect with like-minded peers from around the world. GES is the only conference of its kind for students: it not only provides them with the tangible skills and resources to move beyond good intentions towards action, but also equips them to think more critically about their efforts and ask the right questions when going out and making change in the world.

Year-Long Experience

Throughout the year, GES provides staff members of our twelve different teams with the same tools and training as provided to delegates at the Summit. With a comprehensive curriculum that includes skills workshops, leadership training, current events analysis, and provocative discussion, GES arms its staff with a working knowledge of community development and global issues, as well as a powerful and supportive community dedicated to social change.

Campus Presence

Throughout the year, we hold educational events and activities aimed at engaging Northwestern University students with programming that strives to be relevant, provocative and practical to the campus community in which we operate. Past events have included a panel on social impact careers, a workshop for student philanthropy events and a photo exhibition examining student perspectives of race on campus.

The Summit

Every April, 50-70 student-delegates from universities across the globe come together at Northwestern University for (as testimony has indicated) the best five days of their life. Each delegate has their own community development project or social entrepreneurship venture that they hope to implement or improve. Delegate projects are as diverse as the delegates themselves, ranging in topic, regional focus, and stage of completion (idea, planning, implementation, and execution).

The Summit features a week of capacity-building workshops, keynote addresses, small group discussions, community building and networking, and resources for post-summit outcomes. GES is personally tailored to each delegate’s interests, on topics ranging from “social impact metrics” to “blending for-profit and non-profit models” to “using social media for social good” and connects them with mentors that are leaders in a number of different social change fields. Organizations that have been featured at the Summit include Ashoka, GOOD Magazine, Unreasonable Institute, Kiva, ThinkImpact,, IDEO, and many more.