Westmont Downtown


Semester in Social Entrepreneurship

Westmont Downtown is an off-campus program preparing students to apply the liberal arts to real life. Through tailored mentoring and teamwork, students draw on their academic disciplines to creatively transform their community.


Follow us on Instagram @westmontdowntown


  • GPA (minimum 2.3 gpa for eligibility)
  • Application and essay
  • Faculty recommendation

Apply HERE for Spring 2024Only answer question #1 in the essay section. 

For more information about the program or the application process, email downtown@westmont.edu.

Our Students

Bravery: Erin Erickson

Erin Erickson is a free-spirited entrepreneur who reminded me of the benefits of risk-taking and saying ‘yes.’ She thrives when problem solving and seeks out opportunities to innovate. Erin prioritizes relationships and ‘giving back’ alongside working three different jobs, managing two social impact projects, and launching a business in freelance photography.

Dedication: Thomas Cochrane

Bursting with confidence and emanating joy, Thomas Cochrane is a truly unique and memorable person. Having known Thomas at Westmont, it was clear from our first meeting that he was interested in a life of creativity in business. The founder of a startup during his college years, Thomas loved to talk about new ideas, entrepreneurial opportunities, and the work that went into building something unique. 

Courage: Katherine Kwong

Katherine is an avid artist and storyteller who interned with The Moth— a non-profit storytelling organization that hosts live events and also produces a podcast, The Moth Radio Hour. Katherine has the courage to say whatever is on her mind regardless of the social norms she may be breaking. This is what makes Katherine such an excellent innovator and storyteller — she is authentic and unafraid.


Westmont Downtown offers a wide variety of internships across sectors and disciplines.   A majority of students are able to receive major credit for their internship. See below for a small sample of where students are placed for their 20 hour a week internship with Westmont Downtown. 

Community Challenge Assignment

Students identify a particular challenge in the community and work together to develop a plan to address it.

Sansum Diabetes Research Institute Logo


Two physicians and a project coordinator from Sansum Diabetes Research Center invited the students to help them solve how to better publicize their smartphone app for mothers at risk for having children with gestational diabetes, getting it into the hands of those who could really use it. Three seniors—English major Holli Morrow, Economics & Business major Bryce Cohen, and Spanish/Economics & Business double major Katie Skiff—won the fall challenge with the photo and social media campaign Mas De Nueve Meses (“more than nine months”). Sansum began incorporating the student’s campaign right away, using the slogan with donors at a November event.

Our County Our Kids Logo


Santa Barbara County foster care services desired existing foster parents to make better use of available resources. In response, Izzy Esber (Art), Ellie Rouse (History), Caroline Thomas (Psychology), and Kaylee Deal (Economics & Business) devised the Our County, Our Kids Directory App. The directory offers resource parents in Santa Barbara County a mobile app and website filters so that families can locate resources efficiently and simply, streamlining a cumbersome process and helping more parents to benefit from existing resources. The County was delighted with the results and the directory is being launched Summer 2018.

The State Street Revitalization Task Force comprised of local business owners and stakeholders tasked students with figuring out how to bring more college students to State Street. The Heart of State Festival designated rotating blocks for a monthly street fair that brings together families and spotlights local businesses. The City of Santa Barbara and the task force is moving forward with parts of this idea under the leadership of Nina Johnson: https://www.independent.com/2019/04/14/the-s-b-questionnaire-nina-johnson/

The Santa Barbara Zoo asked WD students to draw 18-28-year olds to the zoo--an underrepresented demographic at zoos across the country. Through discounted and school-subsidized memberships, as well as educational programming, CUE (College and University Engagement) at the Zoo attracts college and university students to visit the Santa Barbara Zoo. More than just a way to increase membership numbers, this program seeks to shape student visitors into advocates for the zoo’s conservation efforts. The Zoo is working on unveiling this program in Fall 2019.

Our Initiatives

Westmont's Hub for Technology, Creativity, and Moral Imagination

The Westmont Hub (WestHUB) brings the campus together to incubate and accelerate entrepreneurial ventures across disciplines.  Dr. Don Patterson shared more about WestHUB in his recent YouTube video during a virtual faculty forum.

Westmont Initiative for Public Dialogue and Deliberation

This public dialogue works with neighbors to speak and listen well together about challenges facing the Santa Barbara community for our common good and human flourishing.

Westmont Downtown in the News

Program Details

This program is open to ALL MAJORS. If you are a student who is eager to be apart of social change in your community, this program is for you. Here are a sample of majors that have participated in the program so far. We hope to continue to add to this list!

  • Art
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Communication Studies
  • Computer Science
  • Data Science
  • Economics & Business
  • History
  • Kinesiology
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Theatre Arts

Tuition for a semester on Westmont Downtown is the same as tuition on campus.  Therefore, your financial aid package goes with you. If you have any questions, please contact Professor Ed Song at edwardsong@westmont.edu

Students are required to live in the city of Santa Barbara during their semester downtown, either in the Ocean View apartments or in Santa Barbara. Sophomores will be in OV the semester they are downtown, while juniors and seniors have the chance to apply to be in OV all year. Seniors can also apply to off campus all year. Here are a couple things to keep in mind:

  • If you choose to live in the city (not in OV), you are required to find your own living arrangements and the cost of living is not billed to you through Student Accounts. You are responsible to pay for all meal/food costs for the semester.
  • Students participating in the program are permitted to live off-campus for the full school year (not just the semester downtown) to accommodate most lease agreements.
  • Students living off-campus are still required to live according to the Community Life Statement signed upon entry to Westmont.

Students participating in Westmont Downtown are not required to purchase a Westmont parking pass for their semester downtown. However, students are still required to purchase a parking pass for the semester they are not in the program.

Parking in downtown Santa Barbara near the center can be tricky! There is a lot right outside the center, and it is paid parking (75 minutes free and then $1.50 for every subsequent hour). There are also several parking spaces on the street surrounding the center, but make sure to watch out for street sweeping hours!

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Dr. Ed Song at edwardsong@westmont.edu or at 805/565-7071.


A 20-hour/week internship is the core of the program. Fulfills GE: Serving Society

Interns, in most situations, earn a small stipend. We will work together to ensure that your internship is a great fit—tailored to your discipline, career goals, and/or skills. 

Fulfills GE Understanding Society

This seminar-style course explores a range of methods to resolve pressing social problems. We examine locally specific, solutions-oriented social change efforts and then place those efforts into global context. Class sessions, group activities, and assignments reinforce that we learn best by doing. In this vein, students gain skills—such as designing a business plan, setting SMART goals, and using innovative technology—while also situating social ventures into theoretical, historical, structural, and scriptural context. This seminar offers students the opportunities to start their own initiatives or enterprises.

Spring 2023 electives will be provided as needed to meet various General Education or major/minor needs of student participants.  Please consult with Edward Song regarding possibilities. 

Our Facility

The headquarters for Westmont Downtown are located in the Upper Downtown area at 26 W. Anapamu Street on the 3rd floor. Our facility is newly remodeled and includes state-of-the-art classrooms and technology. Designed with collaboration in mind, the space provides students, faculty, and community partners with the adaptability that helps innovators to thrive. It is just steps away from businesses, local government, start-up hubs, coffee shops, restaurants, shopping, museums, and public transportation. It is also less than a block away from the Westmont shuttle stop.