Student Ventures Gap Year / Student Policies

  1. Acceptance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness  
    • Participants will be accepting of others and value them for their unique characteristics and backgrounds.
    • Students will verify they have read the “Diversity, Inclusion and Equity” statement for Student Ventures and its Gap Year (“Venture Year”), Gap Semester, and Acceleration Programs (referred to in clauses below as “Program”). This statement will be provided by Student Ventures and signed by the student.
    • Prejudice, racist, or sexist language and imagery used to imply distaste or hate are not appropriate for any conference venue, including talks, workshops, events, and social media. Participants are prohibited from the use of language, images, activities, or other material in this manner.
    • Participants will recognize that they are a part of an international cohort and community, and will seek to become better global citizens, with a curiosity about the countries and cultures of others. Preconceived notions and stereotypes will be dropped at the start of the program.
    • Students will participate in identity training, which will be a segment early in the program. This will situate students with the ability to work in teams.
  2. Curiosity, Creativity, and Diligence
    • Students will keep a healthy curiosity, and explore opportunities and new areas of self-development, including knowledge and skills acquisition.
    • Students will work diligently in completing projects.
    • Students will tap into their creative side, and apply this to solve potential customer/market problems, or satisfy wants, once these are uncovered through discovery.
  3. Use of technology and platforms
    1. Student participants will be using a variety of technologies and platforms. They must be willing and able to learn how to use the ones that they have not yet learned. Program leadership will train students somewhat, but much of the learning will be done on one’s own using tutorials and the like.
    2. Students must have a fast internet connection at home (if they are working from home) that is frequently available to them. This is a virtual program that entails a lot of digital interaction. A substantial amount of uploading and downloading of files and data will occur, as will synchronous video conferencing, and asynchronous sharing and learning.
    3. Students must have their own laptop and/or desktop computer. PCs are preferred but Apple computers will suit as well.
    4. Students will also have a mobile phone with memory available for uploading, downloading, sharing, testing and trialing of applications. Android or iOS platforms, or both, are required.
    5. Students must have the following software packages and social media platforms available or be willing to download and install them by the start of the program.
      • Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
      • Adobe (.pdf)
      • Adobe Cloud (graphics and creation)
      • Slack
      • Zoom
      • Liveplan
      • LeanStack
      • Trello
      • Chrome Browser
      • An email program such as Googlemail or Protonmail
      • Instagram
      • Facebook
      • Snapchat
      • Whatsapp
      • Twitter
      • Linkedin
      • Pinterest
      • Wechat
      • YouTube
      • Vimeo
      • Telegram
      • Hootsuite (social media marketing learning and management)
      • Duolingo
      • edX, Future Learn, and Coursera
      • Canvas
      • WordPress
  4. Online Etiquette
    • Students will refrain from deviant online behaviors such as flaming, bullying, abuse, spamming, and over-promoting.
    • Students will read the Student Ventures guidance on Netiquette and adhere to the guidelines provided.
    • During conference calls, students will lend their full attention to the call. Playing with phones, making calls, and other distractions will be frowned upon. Student Ventures will seek to keep online video calls efficient as they require intense focus, and can cause fatigue. Most of our sessions will be 60 minutes at the most in “one go”; students should try to keep their team calls to one hour or less as well.
    • Appropriate dress will be required when visible online. The dress code will be suited to occasion, but usually casual. Students should avoid wearing any clothing that might be considered to be offensive to others and should resort to “business casual” dress as a default, as our programs are business oriented.
    • No intoxication from alcohol or drugs is permitted during live sessions.
    • Drinking or taking of drugs of any sort on camera is disallowed.
    • Vaping or smoking on-camera during calls or video sessions is disallowed.
    • Any material that a student publishes on the internet (such as on social networking sites or blogs) that violates Program Rules will be grounds for student dismissal.)
    • Students should monitor their own personal social media accounts as well, and refrain from posting content in public that might be considered offensive, racist, or sexist.
    • We follow the generally accepted conventions of online etiquette: engage thoughtfully and respectfully; disagree politely with ideas, not people.
  5. Guidelines for Posting to Discussion Boards in Online Courses
    • Dare to share the intrepid first post!
    • Post at least twice — first, respond to the prompt; then, respond to a colleague’s post.
    • To help encourage dialogue, we suggest posting an initial response to the prompt first, and then replying to a post or two of fellow students, following that, within a few days or so.
    • Responses to colleague’s posts can include expressing gratitude for hearing a unique point of view, asking a question for clarification, making a connection to a resource or personal experience, etc.
    • If you include links or references to additional resources, please describe them briefly and explain their relevance.
    • Expect to see members of the teaching team responding to comments throughout the course.
    • Please consider responding first to another’s post that has not received a response yet. But, more importantly, follow your interests.
    • Posts can be a few words, a few lines, a short paragraph, or a short video or voice recording.
    • Polish or perfection are not expected. In this context, we ask you to write to think out loud and learn. Video or voice posts are welcome.
  6. Obscene, Indecent, Violent or Disorderly Conduct
    • Students will refrain from obscene, indecent, violent, or disorderly conduct while on the program.
    • Students shall also refrain from perpetrating any form of sexual harassment or engaging in any self-endangering behaviors.
    • In addition, students shall refrain from any other conduct likely to bring Student Ventures or the Gap Year Programs or Accelerators into notoriety or disrepute.
    • Students will obey all local and international laws in their participation in the program(s), and in the activities of their new businesses that they establish.
  7. Prototypes, Business Plans and Business Venture Types
    • Ethical: A student will not build a prototype, plan, or start a business that is unethical. While “ethical” can be a “grey area” term, students are expected to discuss a potential prototype or business opportunity with program leadership before moving forward. Approval must be sought for projects. However, Student Ventures will keep a wider-ranging remit for potential projects.
    • Legal: A student will not build a prototype or propose a business that will be conducting illegal activities. Again, such opportunities should be checked with program management beforehand, and approval given. In some circumstances, a need for legal advice may be required before proceeding.
    • Dangerous: Students will not develop prototypes or business plans that might intrinsically endanger the health or well-being of others or themselves. Again, students will seek approval for projects and business plans/ventures before moving forward.
  8. Weekly attendance, promptness, and tardiness
    • Students will participate in required weekly meetings as scheduled. There will be various required meetings, such as those with the cohort, 1-1s, and other events.
    • 1-minute rule: Promptness to meetings is required. Students should arrive no more than 1 minutes after a session has started. Out of respect for others and the need to avoid disruption, we do require students to be on-time.
    • Three tardies will result in one “Strike” towards the Three Strike Rule explained below.
    • Participants will attend and fully participate in scheduled learning activities to develop intellectually, creatively, and professionally.
  9. Self-scheduling
    • Students will make their own schedules outside of the required weekly cohort, 1-1 meetings, team meetings, and events. There will be much unstructured time and students agree to manage their calendars effectively.
    • Student teams will make their own schedules for meeting together.
  10. Journaling and Maintaining a Learning Portfolio
    • Participants will be required to maintain a journal during the experience. This can be either private or public (in the form of a blog).
    • A learning portfolio will also be built and added to during the experience and will include any badges earned.
  11. Building a Personal Brand on Social Media
    • Students will participate in building a personal brand of their own on social media
    • LinkedIn will be used by students to build and enhance their “Online CV”.  Time will be set aside for building this and students are required to maintain it throughout the program
  12. Maintain contact with Program leaders, advisors, and mentors
    • .Students will be responsible for maintaining contact with Program advisors on a regular basis.
    • If assigned advisors and mentors, students will be responsible for reaching out on a periodic basis to make contact and interact with these volunteers.
  13. Team Formation, Facilitation, and Management
    • Students may form or be placed into teams for startup activity including business canvassing, prototyping, and other.
    • Students may include external members on a team, however, only team members enrolled in the program may participate in weekly meetings with the cohort and Program leadership.
  14. Deliverables
    • Students will be responsible for delivering a series of documents, presentations, prototypes, and the like throughout the program.
    • A schedule and due dates will be provided to students at the beginning of each Program. Students are responsible for reviewing it, calendaring due dates, and assuring that deliverables are uploaded or presented on-time. In rare circumstances, extensions may be granted by Program management if so requested.
    • Students will be required to make online presentations from time-to-time. A structure for such presentations and coaching will be made available so that students will be more prepared and feel more confident.
  15. Intellectual Property
    • Students and their teams will own all of the intellectual property that they create during the Program pertaining to their business ventures.
    • Intellectual property is defined as one or more of the following: Trademarks, Copyright, Patents, Design Rights, Database Rights, Trade Dress, and Trade Secrets.
    • Intellectual property law is heavily dependent on jurisdiction. Students will recognize the complexity of these issues.
    • While our Program’s educational and coaching sessions will address intellectual property, students will recognize that we are not IP lawyers and can not give legal opinions. In some cases, additional legal assistance may be required to properly document, file and protect intellectual property that arises through the creative process of the Program.
    • Student Ventures will have the right to use trademarks and copyrighted materials of new student product and company creations in its marketing, public relations, and research activities for the purpose of promoting Student Ventures or the individual project itself.
    • Student teams will be encouraged to sign cofounder’s agreements prior to incorporation in any jurisdiction. These agreements will address the ownership of IP, and their own internal policies of the team regarding its distribution, ownership, and licensing.
    • Upon incorporation, students will be encouraged to adopt IP policies and address this in stockholders’ agreements, and through licensing agreements.
    • Participants or their teams may not use the trademark, brand, or other copyrighted materials of Student Ventures without the express written consent of the organization.
    • Students will “own” the badges and educational certificates that they earn in the Program, but recognize that some may have expiration dates associated with them.
  16. Health and Safety
    • Students will take precautions and maintain and awareness of health and safety-related issues in their daily work activities. They will take steps to ensure the safety and well-being of themselves and others.
    • Students will follow good practices of working online, taking breaks, resting the eyes, using lighting effectively, posture, and use a mix of sitting and standing when working online. In short, good ergonomics. Program leadership will provide some suggestions and resources regarding this area.
    • Mental Health:  Students should make Program management aware of any mental-health related concerns so that they can be directed to the appropriate support if needed. Unfortunately, our limited staff does not have the expertise or resources to counsel and support mental health conditions. However, we recognize that many are suffering from mental health challenges, especially considering some of the current challenges such as pandemics, university and school closures, excessive sheltering-in-place, and economic challenges faced by many families.
  17. Outside Exercise
    • Students are required to maintain an exercise schedule that best suits their health needs.
    • Program leadership will encourage exercise, good eating habits, rest, and sleep during the program. However, as we are not experts in this field, our advice will be somewhat limited.
    • Compliance with local laws and statutes regarding outdoor exercise is required of students, especially during Covid-19 lockdowns.
  18. Life-threatening Medical Condition or Debilitating Psychological Condition
    • Students may be dismissed from the Program if they suffer from a life-threatening medical condition or debilitating psychological condition. Our organization does not have the capacity to treat or provide therapy for such conditions.
    • Students or their parents or guardians should promptly inform Program staff if they suffer from a life-threatening medical condition or debilitating psychological condition.
  19. Learning of Language(s)
    • Language learning is a requirement of the Venture Year and Venture Semester Programs. Students can either continue to take a language or learn a new one. A variety of languages will be made available to learn. Program leadership will direct students to online learning resources and will monitor their progress.
    • Students in the full-time Program are expected to spend approximately 5-7 hours a week (1 hour per day) in self-paced language learning in the subject of their choice.
  20. Community Service
    • Students are expected to “donate” a minimum of 8 hours per Program quarter to external community service activity. This can be virtual or face-to-face.  Students will report this in a time sheet before the end of the Program and earn a badge for community service.
    • Students can find their own social organizations to volunteer with; Program leadership will also provide a list of options and provide guidance on this matter as well.
  21. Illegal Activity
    • Engagement in illegal activity in one’s home country or region is forbidden.
    • Breaking of drug or alcohol laws in one’s home country is forbidden, especially those pertaining to underage drinking.
    • Participant business ventures should not be planned strategically to break any local or international laws.
  22. Payments, Terms, and Conditions   
    • A deposit will be required upon accepting a place in the Program.
    • A discount will be provided for upfront payment in-full for the Program. Otherwise, students may elect a payment plan.
    • Students will assure that required payments are made on-time if on a payment schedule.
    • Late fees will be associated with any payment past due by 15 days or more.
    • Payments must not be more than 30 days late, or student participation in the Program will be paused until the receivable is brought into current status.
    • The schedule of payments will be made available in the terms and conditions.
  23. Cancellation    
    • The cancellation policy will be found in the terms and conditions.
    • Once a Program starts, the student loses the ability to cancel.
  24. Gap Year Student Surveys
    • After each Program has ended, we will survey students and ask them to participate in providing feedback.
    • The Gap Year Association will also conduct alumni surveys from time-to-time, and we ask that students participate in these as well.
  25. Alumni Involvement
    • Students are encouraged to remain involved as alumni in various roles and participation methods. Student Ventures will form an alumni outreach program in the near term.
    • We appreciate alumni willingness to complete any surveys from our organization or others such as the Gap Year Association as we learn more about the gap year phenomenon and the research around this body of practice grows.
  26. Dismissal
    • Student Ventures reserves the right to dismiss any student who fails to uphold any and all of the above rules.
    • In the event that a student is dismissed from the program, the parent or natural guardians are responsible for all additional expenses incurred above those of the regular Program costs. In the case of early dismissal, Program fees will not be reimbursed.
  27. Disciplinary Process
    • As an organizational policy, Student Ventures typically follows the three-strike rule for a disciplinary plan. After the accumulation of three strikes and the consideration of the severity of the infraction(s), a student may be dismissed and terminated from participation in the program as well as their internship.
    • Though the three-strike rule is the guideline, infractions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by staff. Violations of more serious rules such as engaging in illegal behavior, for example, may result in immediate termination regardless of the three-strike rule.
  28. Cases for Termination from Program
    • All cases regarding potential termination of a student from the Program will be evaluated thoroughly on an individual basis by staff. However, certain cases may be at a higher risk of termination:
      • If a student commits a series of three infractions against Program policy or a serious infraction that requires a bypass of the three-strike rule.
      • If a student is experiencing severe physical and/or mental health issues that are beyond the scope of our Program and are impacting their health, well-being, and ability to navigate the gap year/acceleration program process.
      • If a student is endangering themselves or other individuals associated with Student Ventures.
    • As an organization, we expect students to disclose to staff medications that they are on as well as any therapies they are participating in. We are not a therapeutic program and do not have the staff to assist students who have long-term therapeutic need. However, if requested, we can make recommendations or referrals to mental health professionals. While we will provide the resources that are at our disposal, in some cases, it might be in the best interest of all parties to terminate the relationship.
  29. Application and Registration
    • Participants must be fully transparent and truthful on all Student Ventures application and registration forms.
    • Registration forms must be completed before the registration deadline, which falls just before the start of the Program.
  30. Signature to indicate understanding and adherence to policies
    • Students will sign a document with the policies above to signify that they understand, accept, and will adhere to these guidelines.
    • This document will be signed prior to the start of the Program.
  31. Changes or Additions to Policies
    • Program administration reserves the right to modify or add additional policies and procedures in this document.
    • Students will be notified in-writing of any changes to the policies and procedures above.