Social Innovation and Community Change

Can any one description encompass the vastly diverse field of social innovation and community change? Whether you are interested in environmental advocacy, policy research, community organizing, or immigration law, you can engage in social change in many different sectors and forms. This is a field dedicated to improving human and social welfare, through any level of engagement: within communities, through private for/non-profit institutions, or in government offices. With extensive experience in law, consulting, administration, academia, social services, and policy, our alumni have all taken unique paths to further social progress. Join us and discover the incredibly varied ways to pursue and build a fulfilling career in community building and social change.

Panel Participants

Frank Alarcon, AB'13, MURP (Minnesota)

Planning Specialist II, Ramsey County

Mr. Alarcon graduated from the College in 2013 with a degree in Political Science and Human Rights. While in the College, he was active with Student Government and held internships with the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Department of State. After graduating from the College, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in El Salvador and then obtained a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from the University of Minnesota. He now lives in Saint Paul and works as a transit planner for Ramsey County, Minnesota. His work focuses on project management, community engagement, station area planning and coordination between public agencies.

Adam Alonso, AB'93, MSW 02

Chief Executive Officer, BUILD, Inc.

Since arriving at BUILD in March 2015, Mr. Alonso has catalyzed dramatic growth of BUILD's programs, community leadership role, and impact. By rapidly developing and launching key initiatives - including the Block 51 Arts Academy, BUILDing Girls 2 Women program, and a new Clinical Services team, Alonso has overseen a transformation that has doubled BUILD's budget and staff, positioned the agency for long-term sustainability, and substantially increased visibility in preparation for BUILD's 2019 50th Anniversary celebration. Adam brings over 20 years of leadership experience, serving as Director of Illinois' Welcoming Center for Immigrants and Refugees, Director of Community Engagement for United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, and founding executive director of Corazón Community Services. He holds a BA in Latin American Studies from UChicago (where he co-founded the SRO, The Giving Tree), a Master of Social Work from Loyola University-Chicago, and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University Notre Dame.

Kelsie Hope Harriman, AB'18

Project Manager, Justice Informed

Ms. Harriman graduated from the College in 2018 with a degree in Public Policy. While in the College, she concentrated on social change and criminal justice reform. She served as an intern at the UChicago Community Service Center, the Sheriff's Justice Institute, and the North Lawndale Restorative Justice Court, as well as working in Kigali, Rwanda as an archivist of reconciliation stories from the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. Currently, Ms. Harriman is the Project Manager at Justice Informed, a Chicago-based social impact consulting firm. She also works part-time at the Lawndale Christian Legal Center, a legal aid agency that provided holistic, community-based legal services to court-involved youth. A native of Livingston, Montana, Ms. Harriman loves hiking, skiing, running, and traveling.

Peter Kalenik, AB'07, M.S.Ed'11 (Northwestern University), MUPP'13 (University of Illinois at Chicago), MPP'18 (Loyola University Chicago), JD'18 (Loyola University Chicago)

Police Officer, Mr.

Mr. Kalenik graduated from the College in 2007 with a degree in Political Science. While in the College, he interned for the 5th Congressional District of Illinois. After graduation, Mr. Kalenik served as a paratrooper with U.S. Army Special Operations. Upon transferring to the U.S. Army Reserve, he taught and lived on Chicago's Southside as an AmeriCorps educator, while raising millions of dollars for Chicago Public Schools during the largest school closure in the history of American public education. Ultimately, experiences teaching led Mr. Kalenik to become a Chicago police officer. Today, he patrols the most violent police beat in Chicago and mentors the city's newest police officers as a Field Training Officer. Mr. Kalenik has also earned advanced degrees from Loyola University Chicago (JD/MPP, 2018), the University of Illinois at Chicago (MUPP, 2013), and Northwestern University (MSEd, 2011).