Our Do Good Challenge is infusing the campus with a culture of philanthropy through an innovative prize competition. During the challenge, students make the greatest social impact they can for their favorite causes by teaming up to analyze a pressing social issue, and volunteer, fundraise, promote awareness, or start a related social venture. The Institute enlists on-campus partners for the challenge including the Robert H. Smith School of Business, the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Honors College and College Park Scholars. At the finals event, student teams pitch their projects and impact to a live audience and judges who ultimately award the top financial prizes. Past Do Good Challenge student finalists have:
- Raised approximately $100,000; built multiple schools and developed a long-term partnership between the University and communities in Honduras.
- Sparked a national student movement to address food waste and hunger that started at UMD and has grown to more than 150 college campuses; and recovered more than 800,000 pounds of food through a growing nonprofit, the Food Recovery Network.
- Created Terps Against Hunger, which packaged and delivered 587,000 meals to local food banks in its first two years of existence and recently became the annual UMD Homecoming Community Service event.
- Founded a new advocacy venture named Press Uncuffed that focuses on journalists unjustly imprisoned around the world, raised substantial seed capital (more than $50,000); developed partnerships with the Newseum, the New York Times and HBO; and helped free one journalist.
- Developed the company Hungry Harvest. In January 2016, Hungry Harvest competed on ABC’s Shark Tank and earned a $100,000 investment from celebrity investor Robert Herjavec for a 10 percent stake in the company. The company sells and ships surplus produce to local families and businesses that would normally go to waste and provides a meal for a family in need for each box a customer buys.
As further evidence of the success of the Do Good Challenge, Forbes named two past participants, Ben Simon and Evan Lutz, to its top 30 Social Entrepreneurs under 30.