Archive for the 'Student-University' Category

Ideas: Unleashing Creativity through Competitions

Dr Akhtar Badshah, Senior Director of Global Community Initiatives at Microsoft (and recent interviewee of our own Sneha Kannan!) has some insights into student innovation, development, and social change in today’s Huffington Post!

On May 2 as part of MIT’s 150 year anniversary celebrations I will be speaking to students who have entered the MIT IDEAS Competition and Global Challenge — which support innovation and entrepreneurship as a public service. This year more than 80 teams have entered ideas that address barriers to well-being in communities in 24 countries. 46 of them have qualified to enter final proposals.

What is unique about this is that the competition is sparking collaboration among students at MIT and the worldwide MIT alumni network, as well as communities around the world. Opening up the participation to the larger community is interesting and an innovative way for a university to engage a much larger audience. Over the last decade we’ve seen more and more universities and companies launching competitions to develop ‘ideas’ to solve some of the most intractable social problems that we face.

Read the full article here.

Echoing Green Opens Application Cycle for Social Entrepreneur Fellowship Program

The Foundation Center reports that Echoing Green will award twelve to twenty two-year fellowships to social entrepreneurs in 2011. The fellowships provide start-up capital and technical assistance to social entrepreneurs around the world working to turn their ideas into sustainable social change organizations.

Echoing Green seeks individuals or partnerships (organizations led by two people) with innovative solutions to significant social problems, strategies designed to create high-impact and sustainable change in people’s lives, and the ability to grow and lead a new organization.

The application process is open to citizens of all nationalities working in any country. Applicants must be fluent enough in English to participate in interviews and Echoing Green events, and must be 18 years of age or older.

Organizations seeking support must be the original idea of the applicant and must be independent, autonomous, and in a start-up phase, which means the applicant may have been running the organization full-time for up to two years, with Echoing Green’s financial support constituting its major/primary early funding. Applicants who have only worked on their organization on a part-time basis or have yet to start an organization are generally considered eligible. Applicants must make a full-time commitment to their organization’s development.

Fellows receive up to $60,000 ($90,000 for partnerships of two people) in seed funding over two years.

Visit the Echoing Green Web site for complete eligibility information, application materials, and profiles of fellows and their projects.

Contact:
Link to Complete RFP

MIT Students, Alum Prepare for Learning Trip

My colleague Alison Hynd who manages public service fellowship and internship opportunities at MIT will be introducing MIT alumni to a project students are involved with in Ecuador this Summer. To help orient alumni to their upcoming trip to the Kallari cacao farmers and chocolate production facilities, the students put together this outstanding welcome video – check it out!

Why social entrepreneurs do what they do

A recent article in Stanford’s Business Magazine profiled the social enterprise D.light, which delivers affordable LED lighting to rural, off-grid communities. A powerful quote caught my eye, one that really threw into sharp relief the power of what students everywhere are doing to change the world:

“Chaudhary purchased a light for about $30 and soon noticed that his family’s eyes no longer burned and their chests no longer hurt. Even better, they could see at night. His sister, Rama, was able to stay up late knitting sweaters. His father, Gajinder, could read without straining his eyesight. His aunt, Suman, stopped charring the flat chapati bread she baked over the wood stove.”

All these benefits from a light? Its almost inconveivable in our comfortable lifestyles. To communities with less, simple, smart changes add up to significant quality of life improvements.

Read the complete Stanford article here.

MSU Spartans Channel Change

Great clip communicating energy that can be drawn from a worldwide alumni base. Props to Tom G. for spotting this in Tuesday’s NYTimes.

Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Development Night

Joost Bonsen shared a great set of images from International Development Night last Friday. Over 500 guests joined the International Development Network for the Fourth Annual International Development Night at the MIT Museum on April 3, 2009. Coordinated by MIT’s International Development Network (IDN) –web.mit.edu/idn – the evening is a celebration and showcase of over two dozen practical, action-oriented development innovations and activities at the Institute.

March Madness: We’re Not Playing Basketball

[From Business Week] “It’s March Madness time, all right. But the competition in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington had absolutely nothing to do with basketball. This annual event, March Madness for the Mind, is organized by the National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), a network of more than 200 universities that promote innovation by underwriting and mentoring teams of college student inventors.

More important, the 14-student e-teams (and one high school team sponsored by a different NCIIA program) got to rub elbows with more than a dozen venture capitalists, who might help take their ideas from the lab to the marketplace.”

At least one team - Affordable Solar Thermal Microgenerator Technology for Rural Cogeneration in Southern Africa - is from MIT. Check out the great slideshow of this year’s inventions here.