SEP Program


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Social Entrepreneurship Program

Elena PetreEducating Students, Empowering Individuals

Our Mission
The Social Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) at the University of St. Thomas is a service-learning co-curricular program in which students have the opportunity to put in practice the theories and techniques on development and poverty alleviation that they learn in the classroom. SEP operates as a student-run organization. Students help identified underprivileged communities around the world find and establish professional partnerships with local organizations; help raise funds; and later distribute these funds through the creation of comprehensive microcredit programs sharing their time, talent and know how.

Through the development and administration of these revolving funds, SEP volunteer students promote freedom, fairness and democracy in communities as distant and diverse as Lilongwe, Malawi; Petac, Yucatan; Santiago, Chile; Chitral, Pakistan; and Maputo, Mozambique. The Social Entrepreneurship Program works to generate social change by calling on student, University press, Houston and global communities to participate in our efforts to eradicate poverty around the world.

The Educational Experience
United, we can overcome poverty with dignity.

The Social Entrepreneurship Program serves as a mechanism to advance UST’s mission as a Catholic Institution of higher education. It provides UST students with the opportunity to combat global poverty by incorporating:

  • Service learning hands-on activities; 
  • Learning about other cultures and religions; 
  • Promoting understanding; 
  • Helping to emphasize our similarities; 
  • Contributing to a global dialogue of peace and respect; and 
  • Helping the world’s working poor to achieve economic independence.

All students are invited to get involved in SEP’s efforts, because every student effort can help create a more just world. Find out how to get involved.

How does Social Entrepreneurship Program help the impoverished?
SEP provides those suffering from poverty with financial capital through a microcredit loan to help them start a business or expand their existing one.

Loan Recipients
Through SEP, 75 percent of the loans distributed by the program are given to women. Women are more reliable and their empowerment is key to achieve sustainable development. Businesses run by women have a positive impact on their family and surrounding community. Women are ideal caregivers, investing their businesses’ revenue to provide their family with education, shelter and other essentials.

The success of SEP projects around the world and the positive impact these projects have had on our women and their families would not have been possible without the help of our generous SEP donors.

Contact Us
Dr. Rogelio Garcia-Contreras
Associate Professor 
Tiller Hall