Better together. That’s what these Babson students, staff, and faculty are saying after launching a new, free, and very timely, e-learning opportunity, collaboratively.
An unexpected partnership brought student-led startup, Arist, and Babson Health and Wellness together to create a text-message course in the startup’s expanding lineup, co-designed by Director of Wellness & Prevention Services Ashleigh Hala and Arist co-founders Ryan Laverty ’20 and Michael Ioffe ’21.
This collaboration provided the Babson team with platform expertise they needed, while also offering Laverty and Ioffe the opportunity to give back to the institution where they established their startup.
“Both Ryan and Michael are brilliant students,” Hala said. “I’m inspired by their interest and commitment to social entrepreneurship, and I’m so glad they saw in this project what I saw.”
Developing a Partnership
While planning the course, Social Connection While Social Distancing, Hala knew student input would strengthen its subject matter.
Cognizant of his platform, she reached out to Laverty, her former first-year seminar student, who responded enthusiastically.
“As our startup has grown, we’ve collaborated with staff, professors, educators,” Laverty said. “For us, we have this way of delivering content effectively. Who are the people we can go to that are experts, and the people with access to audiences?”
The answer this time around was College leadership.
“They treat you like a professional,” Laverty said, recalling the experience. “They’ve got such deep expertise about what works.”
Content in the 20-day course, which went live last week and is taught via a single daily text message, is structured on the importance of social connection to the overall health and well-being of Babson students.
Arist was established following Ioffe’s experience working with Yemen students who lacked the high-speed internet connections necessary to participate in online learning. Earlier this month, the business was named a finalist in TechCrunch’s inaugural Liftoff List, where student entrepreneurs submit their ventures for a chance at $100,000 in funding.
“Their Voice Matters”
The partnership has offered Hala valuable insight into student behavior and needs. Because of this insight, she positioned Restorative Practices as a key strategy to proactively improve student health and well-being.
“Students are happier, more cooperative, and productive when you do things with them rather than for them,” she said. “Their voice matters.”
In the duration of the course, Hala hopes students will learn how they can make authentic connections with those who they may not be currently sharing physical space with.
“Most Babson students are experiencing this pandemic as a social crisis,” she said. “This course is the right tool for the right time.”
To sign-up for this asynchronous course, click here.