Thuy Dao: Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability

Thuy DaoThuy Dao
Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability
B.A. anticipated June 2014, Summa cum Laude
Home College: Baruch
Mentor: Thomas Lyons, Management, Baruch
Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellowship
Harriet Brown Scholarship for Social Change
Baruch Honors Program
Dean’s List

At ten years old, Thuy Dao and her family migrated from Vietnam and to the U.S. This year, she will be the first in her family to earn a Bachelor’s degree.

Baruch Professor Ted Henken, Sociology, talks of his good fortune in meeting Dao in his course The City that Care Forgot: The Roots, Ruin and Rebirth of New Orleans, which included a week-long trip to New Orleans. He describes her as an eager participant, a critical thinker and an effective collaborator and communicator who conducted exhaustive research on public housing and environmental justice.

Prof. Henken’s course helped crystalize Dao’s academic goals. She entered CUNY BA to study the intersection between business, social justice and environmentalism, saying “Social entrepreneurs seize opportunities others miss, create new approaches and advance sustainable solutions that generate social value. This interdisciplinary and holistic approach reflects my belief in empowering individuals through an economic model while working to limit environmental impact.”

Last summer, she interned with the Prothsahan Team NGO in New Delhi, India teaching high school students about environmental degradation and sustainability. The following semester she started a social entrepreneurship project to open a student-run credit union at CUNY; she and her team raised money for this and attended the Green Coop Academy for an intensive, 24-week training. After her course in Public Campaigns and Advocacy, she established a public campaign to increase organic recycling for NYC restaurants.

Dao’s other classes included Entrepreneurship Management, Social Entrepreneurship, Environmental Ethics, Law and Public Policy, Public Housing and Community Development, and Leadership and Diversity. In her final semester, she is working with her mentor and writing a thesis on how the values of solidarity economy (an alternative economic paradigm consisting of economic activities organized for the collective self-development which implies shared satisfaction of needs and wants in an ethical and cooperative manner) manifest in business practices. After graduation, she’ll work in union organizing to help workers achieve economic justice in Los Angeles.