Changemaker Challenge Awards Top Prize to Group's DACA App Idea

Changemaker Challenge Awards Top Prize to Group's DACA App Idea

A video idea discussing the creation of a mobile application to help those who identify as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students gain easy access to resources to guide them in their path to citizenship and journey at the University of San Diego, was the top prize money winner in the 2019 Changemaker Challenge.

The app, an idea created by the three-person student team of Jaylynn Choi, Ricardo Moreno and Sarah Alfraih, won among eight video finalists by receiving just under 28 percent of the online votes (27.98 percent, 176 votes). The Challenge, which offered a total prize money pool of $6,000, earned the USD DACA app team $1,678.80.

Changemaker Challenge entrants were asked to generate an idea for addressing a current social challenge in the form of a 2-3-minute video. The 2019 theme was Homelessness, Displacement and Migration. On Dec. 5, the eight finalists, who emerged in late November and competed in online voting Nov. 25-Dec. 4, were celebrated at an awards luncheon in the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice.

Furthermore, the Challenge judges awarded three finalists with an additional $1,000 each in the categories of Best On-Campus Idea, Best Off-Campus Idea and Most Original Idea. The USD DACA App was named Best On-Campus Idea. Telling Stories was named the Best Off-Campus Idea and The Blink Project: Housing for San Diegans was honored for Best Original Idea.

The Telling Stories idea, brought to life by Liam Sefton, seeks volunteers to interview people who are experiencing homelessness in order to share their stories online for the public to learn more about the experience. The initiative hopes to change the negative stigma towards homeless people and by rehumanizing them, invite empathy and improve future solutions from larger institutions.

The Blink Project, led by Claire Bergstresser, uses social impact design to combine function with community building. The project tackles homelessness by innovating architecture, financial planning and zoning for new and accessible housing opportunities. Looking at pre-existing public storage spaces to creatively alter the design and change the zoning from commercial to mixed-use, comfortable, affordable and communal living arrangements.

The remaining finalists, in order of the number of votes received and percentage, were Homeless Connect Project (Jarrett Bare, Carla Kelliny and Savannah Alarcon) with 20.35 percent, 128 votes, $1,221; Excess Food Distribution (Isabel Ichiyama, Olivia Mathewson, Rhyle Hanson), 18.76 percent, 118 votes. $1,125.60; The Blink Project, 14.47 percent, 91 votes, $868.20 plus $1,000 for Most Original Idea, is a total of $1,868.20; HOMEE App (Chloe Heiser, Will Worthington, Julie Hall), 6.84 percent, 43 votes, $410.40; SNAPs and Sandwiches (Gabriel El Hajji and Nicole Filicko), 4.77 percent, 30 votes, $286.20; IA in the Integration Process (Abigail Blackford, Amanda Olinger and Ayanna Khalfani), 3.66 percent, 23 votes, $219; and Telling Stories, 3.18 percent, 20 votes, $190.80 plus $1,000 for Best Off-Campus Idea is a total of $1,190.80.

This year’s Changemaker Challenge had 79 entries and involved 218 students in all, mostly first-year students who were in Living-Learning Community classes. There were also second-year and third-year students and also one graduate student team. A handful of faculty members made it a requirement in their classes and the videos were reviewed by a panel of USD faculty, staff and administrators campus-wide.

— Compiled by Ryan T. Blystone

Video by Thomas Sanbeg

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