SEP Program
Garcia-Contreras Meets Pope Francis on Investing for the Poor
The Pakistan Project
Social Entrepreneurship Program Expands to Africa
The Yucatan Project
Garcia-Contreras Meets Pope Francis on Investing for the Poor

It’s no surprise that Pope Francis has affection for the poor. On a recent visit to Rome, Italy, for a conference on impact investment and development, Dr. Rogelio Garcia-Contreras, advisor to the Social Entrepreneurship Program, met with and heard the Pope’s views on investing in the poor. Read more

The Pakistan Project

In collaboration with Hashoo Foundation, the Center for International Studies Social Entrepreneurship Program supports an economic development plan in Pakistan, aptly called "Plan Bee." Through a $13,000 USD revolving fund in operation for the last three years, SEP has financed more than 40 women for the production of honey in the region. SEP plans to finance a total of 100 women once the project is completed.

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Social Entrepreneurship Program Expands to Africa

The Center for International Studies Social Entrepreneurship Program finances a cooperative of HIV positive women to support their agricultural ventures to diversify current farming practices. Through a $6,500 USD revolving fund, hope, dignity and empowerment are coming back to a cooperative run by 65 women living in the poorest neighborhood of Lilongwe, Malawi.

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The Yucatan Project

In collaboration with a local nonprofit organization, Ayuda para Ayudar, SEP is supporting the livelihood of hundreds of Mayan women and their families in the Yucatan Peninsula. Through $15,000 USD in a revolving fund, a prosperous microcredit program has been established for the production of honey, handicrafts, small-scale agriculture and production of habanero salsa. Read more



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 there is no student effort that cannot 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
rogarcia@stthom.edu 
713-525-3538
Tiller Hall

Facebook: facebook.com/ust.microcredit

Internships

Internships  

Through the network of International Studies faculty and alumni, Center for International Studies students have access to numerous internship opportunities.

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Study Abroad

Study Abroad  

Take advantage of UST’s top-ranked study abroad program to travel to foreign countries individually or as a group, for a few of weeks or a semester. 

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Support the Center

Support the Center  

The Center for International Studies is Houston’s oldest degree-granting center of international higher learning. There are many opportunities to support the Center.

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Center for International Studies SEP Program
Center for International Studies
Established in 1981, the Center for International Studies is Houston's oldest degree-granting center of international higher learning. International Studies prepares students for careers in international business, law, politics and public service. In addition, the Center promotes understanding of international relations, cultural differences and the benefits that come from cooperation within the human family.

 

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