USD Announces Jacobs Institute Changemaker Challenge Winners

The University of San Diego is proud to announce the winners of the Jacobs Institute Changemaker Challenge. Over 40 educators, with an estimated 1500 teenage students, signed up for this worldwide virtual event to use Pactful to become social good innovators by creating solutions to local and global problems aligned to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The challenge, sponsored by the generosity of Dr. Irwin and Mrs. Joan Jacobs, began in January 2020 and culminated in a pitch competition.

Created by the Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Education at the University of San Diego, Pactful is a standards-aligned curriculum and virtual tool for teachers and teenagers who want to build a better world. Pactful was designed to recapture the “Lost Einsteins,” and empower learners, educators, and communities to innovate from within.

1st place winners will receive $500 for the student team and $500 for their teacher. 2nd–5th place winners will receive $250 for the student teams and $250 for their teacher.

The first place team created “Go-Green Food Bags,” hand-made, reusable, 100% eco-friendly bags made from recycled materials. This solution was created by a 9th grade team with two girls and two boys from Mount Everest Academy and supported by teachers Eric Nielson and Kris Rodenberg.


Project Name

Team Name



Go Green Food Bags

Responsible Consumption and Production

Mt. Everest Academy


Idle Reminder

Idle Reminder

E3 Civic High School



Hidali, Alana, Jeshua, Lillian

E3 Civic High School


Gender Equality


Mt. Everest Academy


Life in a Bucket

Life in a Bucket

Kearny High School of Biomedical Science and Technology

Pactful is a non-traditional method for students to understand, analyze, think critically, problem-solve, and design with the goal of pitching a solution that could make a positive impact. The Pactful curriculum and tool lead student teams through three design thinking phases—Understand, Ideate, and Prototype—culminating in a Pitch to share their solution. Teachers guide student teams through the curriculum and provide feedback to students while they’re creating their innovations.

More information about Pactful can be found at

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. The university's eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD's Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.


Elena Gomez
(619) 260-2739