Led by the Office of International Education, the Global Citizen Awards recognize outstanding contributions to international understanding by members of the CU Boulder community. The Global Citizen of the Year nominees are submitted by students and represent someone they consider a champion for international and/or education abroad students.
This years’ Campus Global Citizen is Erick Mueller, professor in the Leeds School of Business and Executive Director of the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship. He leads groups of CU Boulder and other students abroad to Santiago, Chile and to Cape Town, South Africa each year. Preparing for these programs takes an incredible amount of work on top of Erick’s regular teaching and directing duties on campus, and he makes it seem like there are somehow more than 24 hours in a day.
Erick’s program to South Africa, dubbed “Entrepreneurship and Empowerment,” takes students to the impoverished townships of Cape Town to learn about and consult with local business owners. That is a brief glance at his program, but the impact of this experience on his students is far from simple, and is best described by the students who nominated him for this award.
One of his students writes, “One of Erick’s core principles in life and global travel is “Moving the needle.” Erick believes that everyone should be part of the global economy, and has the power to change the world, one small step at a time. His passion and dedication to this idea manifests itself in every classroom he teaches and he inspires global citizenship in us all.”
Another student said, “Erick was somehow able to take an experience that most students see as inherently “their” adventure and show us that our time in South Africa was not about our own study abroad experience but about those entrepreneurs we were partnering with and the positive change we can create for these amazing South African entrepreneurs.”
Erick sets his programs apart by making the experiences beneficial to both his students and communities he visits. He not only teaches his students to love the South African culture, he brings a bit of America to the rest of the world as well.
As an example, he organizes an annual 4th of July barbeque for the program each year. One student says, “I will never forget Erick arriving to the barbeque dressed in his Harley Davidson gear, wearing an American flag bandana and singing “Proud to be an American.” Touched by Erick’s love for both his own country and South Africa, a group of forty students and local entrepreneurs, an equal mix of American and South African, circled around this man we all respected, admired and loved and joined him to sing “Proud to be an American” from the other side of the world.”
“We leave with an inspiration and role model on a global scale, not everyone knows how to travel without seeing through the American telescope but Erick broadens the vision by example. As a first hand witness to Erick’s passion and dedication to the global community, I believe he is the best nominee for this award.” -- EESA Student
Congratulations, Erick, for your impact around the world and for this award.