USD Social Innovation Showcase (Week 4): Student Teams Increase Impact Through Innovation

The Global Social Innovation Challenge (GSIC) is coming to campus in June. Each Monday, leading up to the first big step, the USD Social Innovation Showcase on Wednesday, April 25, we're introducing Center for Peace and Commerce’s socially innovative teams who address challenges and ideate solutions for social change via the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Week4-GSICUSD Teams

In this fourth and final installment, USD News Center spotlights the last five teams from a list of 22. In this spotlight, there are two teams focused on Goal 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth, and one team each for Goal 2, Zero Hunger, for Goal 10, Reduced Inequalities, and for Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities.

Team 18: Empathy for Impact: Youth in El Salvador (Goal 8)

Team Members: Jessica Aparicio (MA Social Innovation ’18), Bianca Alvarado (MA Social innovation ’18) and Bernie Jordan (MA Social Innovation ’18).

Challenge: The impact of violence in El Salvador has had a major impact on youth development in El Salvador. The country is the No. 1 most homicidal county in Latin America with 5,278 registered murders, a whopping 81.2 per 100,000 homicide rate. Violence’s impact on children includes knowing that 1.5 children were murdered each day in 2016, 95 percent of youth homicides were between the ages of 12-17 and there was a 120 percent increase of cases of extortion carried out by minors. The number of students who dropped out of school in 2016 because of the threat of violence was more than 14,000. Gang recruitment begins as early as age 9 and the number of unaccompanied Salvadorian children apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border is 17,512.

Suggested Solution: A proposed formula for building peace with youth is threefold: 1. Bring together the concept of storytelling and sustainability-sourced activewear; 2. Partnering with a local public school in El Salvador to develop a multi-purpose boxing youth empowerment program; and 3. Build strong relationships within the community and bring brand awareness outside of the community.


Team 19: Race 4 Good (Goal 8)

Team Members: Tanner Wilkey (Political Science ’19), Zach Farber (Philosophy ’19) and Ayodeji Bandele (industrial and Systems Engineering ’20).

Challenge: Many villages in the Himalayas are still struggling to recover from the economic devastation following earthquakes there in 2015. Needs include water for irrigation, drinking purposes, electricity, horticulture training, modern farming techniques, carpentry training and masonry training. Wilkey traveled to Nepal to learn from the community in Thangdor Village.

Suggested Solution: Because the village’s primary request was access to drinking water and water for irrigation, The Race 4 Good group plans to assist the village’s start and growth of an agri-pharmaceutical system that will create economic stability, provide a more accessible water source and provide the village with solar panels to provide electricity. Starting with a small crop of Chiraito using the resources available, grow the crop size over time and keep harvesting the crop in a sustainable way to create a product that can be sold to create perpetually sustainable revenue for the village.


Team 20: The A Team (Goal 2)

Team Members: Ava Bellizzi (Mechanical Engineering ’20), Eric Rosenberg (General Engineering ’19), Paolo Keane Garcia (Mechanical Engineering ’20) and Avery Repsher (Mechanical Engineering, ’20).

Challenge: Food insecurity and the problem of food deserts. In 2016, 12.3 percent of American households reportedly faced food insecurity and nearly five percent of these households suffered from very low food security. These numbers correspond to more than 41 million people and more than 11 million households. Locally in San Diego County, 12 percent of residents experienced food insecurity as of 2017, including having the seventh highest rate of food insecurity among children in America.

Suggested Solution: Food insecurity is a multifaceted social challenge. By increasing access to nutritious options that are part of a balanced diet throughout food desert communities demands a multifaceted solution. It demands a coming together of four things: Source of fresh, nutritious and affordable foods; community engagement; sustainability; and durability and long-term viability.


Team 21: A Lack of College-Educated Mentors for Latino Youth (Goal 10)

Team Members: Megan Mir (Environmental Studies ’21).

Challenge: Using a hypothetical example of a Hispanic couple having a baby, raising him/her in Middle Tennessee and going through its education system, the child and his/her parents experience frustration, high costs, a lack of support in terms of language barriers and several organizations that would seem to provide mentorship, such as the Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, YMCA Latino Achievers, Conexion America, Parents as Partners and the Hispanic Family Foundation. Each, however, are limited in their accessibility or a feeling of Because of a lack of Latino college-educated mentors in Tennessee, the parents’ child is not likely to get a college education due to factors seemingly beyond their possibilities.

Suggested Solution: In an ideal world, organizations would come together, along with help from the Tennessee and federal government to further develop a good program. It is Mir’s hope that by exposing the need for more college-educated mentors for Latino youth that a specialized program could be developed and the result for a population that in the near future is expected to be the majority, rather than considered a minority, mentorship could change the lives of future generations of Hispanics.


Team 22: Energy Poverty (Goal 11)

Team Members: Francisco Alvarez (Undergraduate Business Finance ’20).

Challenge: Energy Poverty is defined as the lack of electricity and clean cooking facilities (fuels and stoves that do not cause air pollution in houses). As of 2017, 1.3 billion people are living in the dark. In 2012, nearly 25 percent of the population of all developing countries had no electricity. The electricity problem is not as bad compared to the environmental and health impact that inefficient cooking facilities create. Households with air pollution can cause lung cancer, chronic lung diseases and cataracts.

Suggested Solution: Consider solar energy as a solution and an investment. Solar energy, according to Alvarez, is the most reliable and inexpensive alternative as it can be stored and used in infinite activities, thus the possibility of an energy economy in uncommunicated populations by turning them into part of the supply instead of the demand. Research new ways to bring electricity to all the poor communities in the world inexpensively is a necessity. Many countries have adopted incentive policies to overcome barriers. Brazil and India are having success with renewable energy auctions. Small-scale solar energy can greatly accelerate access to electricity. Bangladesh and Mongolia have benefitted from low-cost solar home systems that bring electricity to their low-income households that otherwise would be living in the dark.

Stay up-to-date with all of USD's competing teams in the Global Social Innovation Challenge. Support your fellow Toreros this Wednesday and join these social innovators as they showcase their social ventures. Be sure to secure your seat!

See previous stories on teams who've entered the USD Social Innovation Showcase:

Week 1 Teams Story (6 teams featured)

Week 2 Teams Story (6 teams featured)

Week 3 Teams Story (5 teams featured)