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UMD Undergraduate Students Compete to Do Good

On May 17, the University of Maryland School of Public Policy hosted a Mini Do Good Challenge as the culmination of four “Do Good Now” courses with undergraduate students from across campus. Finalist teams from each class competed for $1,000 towards their projects and coaching at the new Do Good Accelerator.

Students in each Do Good Now course were tasked with creating semester-long projects that “do good.” Teams tackled issues ranging from organ donation to reducing plastic bag waste to helping children with disabilities. The Do Good Now course was offered to students through the School of Public Policy, the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, iGive and Honors.

“This class gives students the opportunity to impact a cause that they care about,” said Susannah Washburn, director of the iGive living and learning program at UMD. “It’s so exciting to see the results of these students’ hard work.”

Modeled after the campus-wide Do Good Challenge, finalist teams at the Mini Do Good Challenge presented pitches for a panel of judges that included Tricia Homer, executive communication coach and instructional designer at the UMD Robert H. Smith School of Business; Paul Monteiro, former head of the Communications Relations Service at the U.S. Department of Justice; and Sagar Doshi, business analyst at Deloitte Consulting and former Do Good Challenge winner. 

SPP Dean Robert Orr welcomed students by saying, “This isn’t just a final exam, it’s a chance for us to learn how you’re learning. I hope you take what you’ve learned in this course and apply it to your entire life.”

The finalists included Compostars, an organization dedicated to addressing the waste disposal crisis by focusing on trying to implement composting in local public schools in Prince George’s and Montgomery County; HazLo, a team that worked to help children living in poverty in the Ancash region of Peru; The Make a Dream Team, a group working to fundraise for Dreams for Kids DC, a local nonprofit the holds events for children with special needs; and Students for the Advancement of Women in Science Foundation, whose mission is to end the underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers by fundraising supporting after school STEM workshops for local middle schools.

During thecompetition, three semi-finalist teams were also given the chance to give two-minute pitches for a chance to receive coaching at the Do Good Accelerator. The semi-finalist teams were Project Earth, a team that worked to help encourage students to reduce their carbon footprint; Project Welcome, an organization that aims to positively impact the conversation around immigration by collecting messages of welcome from college students around the country; and Right Place, Right Time, a student-led organization that worked to provide family-planning services to people in Ghana.

Students for the Advancement of Women in Science won the grand prize of $1,000 for their cause and coaching at the Do Good Accelerator and Project Welcome won the semi-finalist competition.