USD Students Inspired to Make Social Change Showcase Their Ideas

University of San Diego student social innovators have showcased their ideas for social change, equity, justice, peace and prosperity throughout the month of April. Some students have mapped the landscape of a specific social or environmental challenge and shared their suggested levers for change based on the gaps in the current solution pool through the Map the System Challenge. Others have proposed a specific social or eco-innovation that addresses one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals through the Global Social Innovation Challenge. Selected USD teams will go on to the finals of both challenges to take place in June.

Students ‘Map the System’ of Social and Environmental Challenges Worldwide

Teams showcase their map of a social issue.
Teams showcase their map of a social issue.

On April 10, 2018, nine USD semifinalist teams showcased their understanding of intractable issues like low wages for production in global supply chains, vulnerability of youth post-conflict, inequity and skills gaps in education, ecocide and human trafficking. The team selected by judges to represent USD at the global finals at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, on June 1-3, 2018, includes graduate students of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies' MA in Peace and Justice program, and undergraduate students of international relations and humanities. Brittney Ochira, Patricia Cosulich, Wachira Chotirosseranee, Erica Wright, and Carly Lutz have mapped the issue of fire disasters in Thai refugee camps and articulated the gaps in the current solution pool including practical fire prevention methods as well as behavior change campaigns.

Global Social Innovation Challenge Student Participants Pitch at Booz Allen Hamilton's Ideas Festival

USD Global Social Innovation Challenge participants and staff pitching and supporting at Booz Allen's annual Ideas Festival.
USD Global Social Innovation Challenge participants and staff pitching and supporting at Booz Allen's annual Ideas Festival.

On April 20, consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton hosted its 11th annual Ideas Festival, at which students from all over San Diego who are participating in the Global Social Innovation Challenge (GSIC) had the opportunity to showcase their social innovation ideas in a mock elevator pitch competition. University of San Diego students pitched their social innovations alongside students from San Diego State University, University of California San Diego, and the New School of Architecture and Design.

Bernadette Jordan, who is currently pursuing her MA in Social Innovation at USD, said, “The pitch was both good practice and a learning experience. It was exciting to share a passion of mine with others, and I really appreciated the transparent feedback from the mentors after the pitch.” SDSU senior Josh Munoz and founder of Wellware said, “It was a great opportunity to gain exposure and to overcome some of those fears that we have, and to really propel the leadership abilities that we need as we’re growing and launching a company.”

Two University of San Diego Student Teams Advance to Global Social Innovation Challenge Finals on June 23

USD Finalist Teams announced at USD Social Innovation Showcase.
USD finalist teams announced at USD's Social Innovation Showcase.

USD’s Social Innovation Showcase on April 25 featured 19 USD teams from disciplines as diverse as peace studies, cyber security, business, international relations, engineering and more pitching their social innovations to an audience of USD and San Diego community innovators and social good leaders. “These teams exemplify the potential of channeling the entrepreneurial streak of students towards creating a more equitable, just and sustainable world with better quality of life for all,” said Amitkumar Kakkad, PhD, director of USD’s Center for Peace and Commerce and faculty member at the School of Business. “Regardless of the outcome of the competition, participation in the challenge helps these next generation of leaders, innovators and decision makers build understanding and awareness, and equips them to develop practical and impactful solutions that can positively shift the behavior of complex societal systems.”