Fairfield University joins Compass Fellowship
Cody Reinold ’14 started his first business, Elligson, a web design firm, at the ripe old age of 12. In keeping with his affinity for developing new things, he led the initiative to bring to Fairfield University The Compass Fellowship — a program developed to help students design and build their own socially conscious business.
The Compass Fellowship is a network of young social innovators. Member schools span the country and include Boston College, Tufts, Duke, Indiana University, Fordham, and Stanford, among others. With the help of peer and professional mentors, first-year students with passion and purpose identify and develop a socially conscious business built on an interest of theirs.
“We take young students and teach them how to think like an entrepreneur,” Reinold, an information systems and operations management major, said. “Through the program they find out what they really enjoy doing and how to make it a sustainable business.”
Reinold was a member of The Compass Fellowship when he was a first-year student at American University and currently works with members of Compass’ national board. “Being a member helped me figure out how to run my business and it also helped me find ways to incorporate social good,” he explained. For him, that meant hiring students to work on his company’s projects so they would have the opportunity to work on projects for actual clients while building their professional resume.
Once Reinold transferred to Fairfield University, he brought up the Compass Fellowship to Charles F. Dolan School of Business faculty Drs. Carl Scheraga and David Schmidt. They recognized the program’s similar goals with the Dolan School’s entrepreneurial initiatives and socially minded business ventures, and encouraged Reinold to bring Compass to Fairfield.
Freshmen who apply to The Compass Fellowship spend the first half of the semester doing "character work," where they discern what they are passionate about. The second part of the year is spent developing a formal business plan around their interests. Peer and professional mentors provide the students with the tools and training to make their idea a reality.
Fairfield’s first cohort of Compass Fellows consists of eight students from the Dolan School and the College of Arts and Sciences. As fellows of the program, students attend regional and nation-wide events and workshops. In addition, they work closely with Fairfield mentors and network throughout the year with other Compass members.
Reinold said that he’s looking forward to working with the new Fellows and mentors. “The Compass network is a strong one and mentoring the Fellows is beneficial for all of us. We have fresh ideas thrown at us all day and we can give them insight into what will or won’t work.”