USD Social Innovation Showcase (Week 3): 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.

Week3-USD GSIC Teams

In the third of four installments, the USD News Center is spotlighting five teams. In this spotlight, there are two teams focused on Goal 4, Quality Education, and Goal 5, Gender Equality, and one team whose project falls under Goal 12, Responsible Consumption and Production.

Team 13: Vincii (Goal 4)

Team Members: Viet Mai (MA Social Innovation ’18) and Sean Uriarte (undergraduate Psychology ’18).

Challenge: There is a skills gap dilemma, which is described by Mai and Uriarte as the difference between an organization’s skill needs and the current capabilities of its workforce. Via three key influencers — education, technology and workforces — the soft skills in need include: values, believing, teamwork, care for others and independent thinking.

Suggested Solution: To end the skill gap, alignment in all three influencers through a skill sharing system that adapts to current markets, creates a smoother transition for businesses from new employees to those who are retiring, is a necessity. The group’s solution aligns all three influencers through a peer-to-peer model in the service sharing market to connect learners to educators without inequitable discriminatory nature of an overly bureaucratic institution. According to this student group, its platform is designed to connect people with a desire to teach and learn practical skills and lifestyles.

Team 14: Knowledge to College Innovators (Goal 4)

Team Members: Tanisha Martin (Graduate Leadership Studies ’20) and Catherine Northcutt (Graduate Higher Education Leadership ’20).

Challenge: While half of all people from high-income families have a bachelor’s degree by age 25, just 1 in 10 from low-income families do. Forty percent of low-income students who are accepted in the spring never make it to the first day of fall classes.

Suggested Solution: Low-Income Student Tips, or L.I.S.T. is a user-friendly mobile application that provides a safe space to address complications that prospective low-income students are going through and provides them with tools that can give them confidence to accept their enrollment and support toward graduation. The app helps students navigate the college environment: let’s them know about campus resources and deadlines; can connect them to first-generation faculty allies; and useful tips and communication glossary. There are also money-saving tips for food, textbooks, school supplies, parking permits, tutoring and childcare.

Team 15: Intersections for Innovation (Goal 5)

Team Members: Emily Pasnak-Lapchick (MA Social Innovation ’18) and Hannah Gould.

Challenge: Despite movements that seek to promote awareness and be effective in getting their message out to the masses, this student group seeks to address the problem of having silos that prevent progress when it comes to movements that share root causes and goals. Using the issue of human trafficking as an example, it is connected to multiple, intersecting issues that stem from common root causes; and yet, the anti-trafficking field lacks collaboration with other movements which can lead to less effective results.

Suggested Solution: To create a collaborative environment, Intersections for Innovation want to create community-led convenings to address human trafficking and intersecting movements that share root causes. By working together instead of individually, the result is hoped to be community-led solutions, design-thinking approaches, action-oriented outcomes, a way to measure impact and a collaboration on common goals.

Team 16: BE Sisterly Inc. (Goal 5)

Team Members: Carmen Knight (MA Social Innovation ’18), Demitria Flores (MA Peace and Justice ’19) and Jordan Waldron (MA Social Innovation ’18).

Challenge: Around the world, girls of color are faced with poverty, racism and do not always have access to quality education. The lack of access to quality education and the issue of low self-esteem helps create a society-constructed “prison” for girls of color. It is through education that one develops the skills to achieve their dreams. Without proper resources to advance academically, urban educated youth face numerous systemic obstacles that will keep them impoverished.  

Suggested Solution:  To strengthen girls of color through a nonprofit organization that emphasizes on building a sisterhood, which these students feel is essential to building a community of empowerment and unconditional support. It’s a bond between like-minded girls who connect through a bond that’s deeper than friendship. This idea offers components of confidence, service and education to create a strong sisterhood.

Team 17: Baja Urban (Goal 12)

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

Challenge: There’s a tremendous need to invest in the craft sector in developing countries in an effort to help eradicate poverty, especially places such as Chiapas, Mexico. The average income for a worker in Mexico is 2.5 times greater than the average in Chiapas. The state with the highest poverty rate in Mexico is Chiapas (75 percent) as well as extreme poverty (47 percent). Meanwhile, nearly 70 percent of the 10 million artisans in Mexico live on under two dollars a day. And yet, there are many examples of artisans’ quality work and production being taken advantage of by designers.

Suggested Solution:  One of the students in this group has been running her business, Baja Urban, for many years. She and two students are examining handcrafted ethical fashion done by artisans from Chiapas. The group is working on connecting Latina consumers with fair trade products. Developing more awareness can hopefully lead to improvements in the craft industry.

Stay up-to-date with all of USD's competing teams in the Global Social Innovation Challenge. Support your fellow Toreros throughout the challenge and on April 25, 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)