Shortly after the first chocolate bar rolled out of the Askinosie Chocolate factory, we began seeking opportunities to involve the community, specifically students, in our bean to bar adventure. We didn’t have to look too far to see the Missouri Hotel, Springfield’s largest homeless shelter, was only one block away from the factory on Commercial Street. As many as 80 children sleep there on any given night, and many of them attend schools within walking distance of our factory. We were inspired to begin a program that would involve young people from our community in our small, international business, and the idea for Chocolate University was born.
Chocolate University (CU) is an experiential learning program with a worldwide reach for local students. The goal is to inspire students through the lens of artisan chocolate making to be global citizens and embrace the idea that business(es) can solve world problems. We involve neighborhood students from Boyd Elementary, Pipkin Middle School and local high schools in our business through visits to their classrooms, field trips to our factory, updates from origin, visits to origin and much more. The goal is not for these students to become bystanders during a lecture on chocolate making. It’s to provide them with a hands-on experience that takes them from the inner-workings of the factory to the cocoa bean farms across the world.
So how can you get involved? We’ll tell you!
1. Chocolate University is funded by proceeds from Askinosie Chocolate factory tours, so come on in!
2. CU also is funded by generous contributions, which help support our larger projects. You can make a tax-deductible donation here to Chocolate University.
3. Buy our chocolate! After all, we can’t run Chocolate University if we aren’t in business.
4. Engage with us on social media!
For more information about Chocolate University, visit us here.