Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge's $50,000 Global Finals is June 15

Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge's $50,000 Global Finals is June 15

The $50,000 Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge’s Global Finals, showcasing student team finalists representing 26 universities and 12 countries, will take place from 4-7 p.m. on Saturday, June 15 at the Kroc School’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice.

Saturday’s USD Center for Peace and Commerce event culminates a year-long process to give university students around the world the opportunity to develop a social innovation idea that responds to an environmental or social challenge at the local or global level. The idea must connect to one or more of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Each team in the Global Finals placed among the top two at their respective universities to earn a trip to San Diego and present their idea at USD. Some schools have multiple team entries.

This year’s GSIC university participants are: Australia Catholic University, Colorado School of Mines, Corporacion Universitaria Minuto de Dios, Ewha Womans University, Jump Chile, Universidad Popular Autonoma del Estado de Puebla A.C., Duke University, Universite de Sherbrooke, Universidad del Pacifico, Trinity College Dublin (Trinity Business School), Hanyang University, CETYS Universidad Tijuana, Haverford College, Heritage Christian College, Catolica Lisbon School of Business and Economics, University of Miami, Loyola Marymount, New School of Architecture and Design, Akilah Institute, Universidad de Antioquia, Ferris State, University of Kentucky, and Universidad del Desarrollo.

San Diego Entrants in GSIC

Locally, University of California, San Diego, San Diego State and USD are each represented in the GSIC.

The two USD teams, re:fresh smoothies and One Digital World, emerged as finalists from an 11-semifinalist showcase event on April 25. They each received some funding support at the event, including a People’s Choice Award for One Digital World.

Austin Hirsh, a May 2019 mechanical engineering graduate from USD’s Shiley-Marcos School, has re:fresh smoothies. His idea centers on reducing food waste and providing a healthy and nutritious product. His idea is to turn imperfect, surplus, and rescued produce into delicious and nutritious instant smoothie mixes.

Casey James and Momo Bertrand, a pair of 2019 graduates from the Kroc School’s Master of Arts in Social Innovation, are already at work with One Digital World. James’ idea creates the only digital program inside refugee camps that gives women the skills and certifications to gain employment and self-sufficiency after resettlement. James is currently in Greece at a refugee camp to start implementation of the program. Bertrand, meanwhile, is scheduled to give the One Digital World presentation in the KIPJ Theatre.

The two UC San Diego entrants are Project Pagolin and FreeGen Technologies.

Project Pagolin supplies alternative materials made of recycled plastic and natural fibers to communities that lack sustainable access to lumber. FreeGen Technologies is developing the SeaSkimmer, an autonomous marine drone that uses machine learning to more-efficiently collect oceanic trash near shore.

San Diego State entry, SOULMUCH, is a social enterprise aimed at reducing restaurant food waste by upcycling excess grain into nutritious vegan protein cookies.

Saturday’s Event

All GSIC teams are doing preliminary pitches on Friday, June 14 in hopes of reaching Saturday’s finalist program.

On Saturday afternoon, there will be a finalist teams’ innovation showcase at 4 p.m. in the KIPJ’s Garden of the Sky area (in front of the IPJ building) with the actual event starting at 5 p.m. inside the Peace and Justice Theatre.

The event program in the theatre consists of a performance by Ahmen, a nonprofit leader by day and hip-hop MC by night; remarks from Patricia Marquez, PhD, dean of USD’s Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies; Master of Ceremonies Taylor Harrell will introduce GSIC student finalists for their idea’s fast pitch. An Audience Choice Award winner will be selected and the seed funding announcements will be made. Jessica Aparicio, a 2018 graduate of the Kroc School’s Master of Arts in Social Innovation degree and a 2018 Global Social Innovation Challenge entrant, will then speak to close the event. A post-event reception will take place immediately in the IPJ’s Garden of the Sea area behind the building.

The Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge’s donors are Mr. Ron L . Fowler and Mrs. Alexis A. Fowler, The Cappetta Family Foundation, Ms. Annie Navarra, Peacemakers Fund, the Price Family Foundation, Qualcomm Wireless Reach, Qualcomm Ventures, The Moxie Foundation and Cal Recycle.

You can register for Saturday’s event — it is free and open to the public — but for additional information on GSIC, please visit the Center for Peace and Commerce website and also follow the CPC on its social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To follow and post on your GSIC experience Saturday, please use #USDGlobalInnovation.

— Ryan T. Blystone

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