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Wednesday, March 23, 2022

USD Social Innovation Showcase Returns with 15 teams competing for a shot at the Global finals

Written by Andrew Biros, Ed.D.

Changemakers from around the world will travel to San Diego in June, to compete in the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge. 68 teams representing 34 universities spanning across 17 countries will include two teams from USD, who will be selected at our USD Campus Showcase on Friday, April 29th.

Fifteen student teams from USD have advanced to compete in the campus showcase and will spend the next weeks refining their social innovation pitches and prototypes. That includes counsel with industry experts and mentorship from Kroc School social innovation leaders.

USD Campus Showcase in 2019

“I took social innovation with Austin Choi Fitzpatrick, and I’m grateful for that semester experience. To really understand what social innovation is – to take it out from this pie in the sky thing to this real tangible emerging concept in our world.” shared MASI student Christopher Giuffré. Grounded in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #3, Good Health and Wellbeing, Chris’s 11:11 Heart Centered Community venture addresses isolation and loneliness in individuals through strategic community building.  Catalyzed by Professor Choi Fitzpatrick’s teaching, Chris also credits “conversations in the hallway talking about different projects with one and other, have really helped my idea take form.”

“Coming to the Kroc School and hearing about the social innovation challenge was one of the main reasons that I wanted to come to this program,” explained MASI student Brittany Mazal.  Focusing on SDG #4, Quality Education, and SDG #5, Gender Equality, Brittany and fellow MASI colleague Alicia Schwarz will compete in the Campus Showcase with WEquality Academy, a venture that provides leadership training and mentorship for young women. “For the school to provide the space for people that want to make a difference - to actually have the opportunity to make a difference, and start it here - is really inspiring,” Brittany shared. “It’s something I want to be a part of.” Brittany credited the female mentors she has had in her life for her wanting to create a program that offers that same experience to more young women.

Tabitha Nakholi noted the culture of innovation and care at Kroc School, specifically her classmates and professors, for encouraging her to join the challenge. Having spent years prior to coming to Kroc working in social impact, Tabitha explained that impact isn’t always easy. “It can be draining and sometimes, you don’t see the impact that you’re making. But just the fact that other people saw something bigger (in me) that I wasn’t seeing at the time was the much-needed boost that I needed.” Tabitha’s Wezesha Binti Foundation focuses its impact on young women’s reproductive healthcare, spanning four SDGs: SDG 1 No poverty; SDG 3 Good health and wellbeing; SDG 4-Quality Education, and SDG 5- Gender Equality.

The USD Showcase of the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge will take place at 4:00pm on Friday, April 29th in the Kroc IPJ Theater. The top two winners will advance to the Fowler GSIC Global Finals, taking place on Saturday, June 18th at USD.

RSVP for the Global Finals

Andrew Biros, Ed.D.

About the Author

Andrew Biros, Ed.D.

Andrew Biros is the Founding Director of Spark @USD Social Innovation Institute, at the Kroc School of Peace Studies. He leads a cohesive portfolio of high-impact initiatives that cultivates social entrepreneurs, produces knowledge for change makers, and connects students to action. This work includes overseeing and managing the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge and serving as Managing Editor of the USD Teaching Cases on Social Impact.