Virtual Convenings

Reshaping Higher Education:

By Students, For Students

August 5, 2020

10-11:45 AM MDT

As COVID-19 began its rapid spread throughout the United States, Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) had little choice but to close in-person campuses and transition their academic offerings to an online format. As a result, students were required to leave on-campus housing, laid off from campus employment, barred from crucial campus resources, to name just a few of students’ unforeseen hardships in the wake of campus closures. The transition to online education placed an immense burden on students as they were asked to rapidly adapt to a completely new learning environment. 


In light of all of this, it is more important than ever to hear directly from students regarding these experiences and elevate their voices.


The Sorenson Impact Center is recruiting future and current students from across the United States of diverse backgrounds and a variety of institutions to create an action-oriented cohort focused on addressing problems with higher education that have been further magnified through recent events. Join us to discuss the inequities of COVID-19’s impact on student experiences and develop solutions to overcome these obstacles.


This event is a part of Sorenson’s broader work on the MAPS Project, which focuses on addressing the inequities within higher education, particularly for students from historically underrepresented populations in higher education, first generation students, and those from both urban and rural backgrounds. Students who identify in any of these ways are especially encouraged to attend.


Please contact us if you are a student and are interested in participating.

Intermountain Impact, Resilience and Recovery

June 3, 2020

10—11:30 AM MST

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With many rural communities still recovering from the last Great Financial Crisis, COVID-19 has compounded these challenges and poses a serious threat to rural solvency throughout the nation. Rural economies tend to have fewer sources of capital, are more reliant on single industries/sectors (e.g. mining, tourism etc.), and host an aging workforce. 


However, the very nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, a public health crisis paired with an unprecedented economic downturn, has fundamentally challenged many assumptions about how to build and maintain a robust and resilient economy. This has created the space and opportunity to rethink how we collectively conceive economic resilience, through firmly placing equitable recovery first. 


This session will convene investors, economic development specialists, and communities from across rural Utah and Colorado to discuss their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each group will provide an overview of how they are adjusting to the new normal we have been thrust into, discuss examples of best practice, and uncover opportunities around how to mobilize coordinated communities and investment for recovery.


The session will be delivered in partnership with Four Points Funding, the Utah Association of Counties and Sorenson Impact Center. 

Small Business Survival Amid Covid-19

March 27, 2020

On Friday, March 27, President Donald Trump signed into law a $2 trillion stimulus package.
In a single sweep of a pen, this more than doubled the nation’s budget deficit compared to 2019.

This unprecedented bipartisan intervention is an attempt to lessen the crippling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. economy. The package includes ~$350 billion for businesses with 500 employees or fewer. These funds will be distributed through the Small Business Administration’s lending network.


This session, which is being jointly delivered by the Sorenson Impact Center and Accelerator for America, will explore the potential impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on main street America, with a particular focus on micro and small businesses (1–19 employees). This group of businesses represents ~5.3 million employees across the U.S. and tends to have less engagement with banks and other lending providers than their larger counterparts.