Students at the University of Maryland have been learning to think outside the box and focus on efforts to enact social change this semester. The UMD School of Public Policy once again offered four sections of its Innovation and Social Change: Do Good Now course for students in SPP, iGive, Honors and the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.
Throughout the course, undergraduate students from across campus placed themselves into groups of five or six to learn how to create a project, work as a team, organize volunteers and raise money for a good cause. The students had the chance to participate in the Do Good Challenge in April, hosted by SPP’s Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, and then competed in a class competition at the end of the semester.
On May 16, students competed in the class competition, a mini Do Good Challenge. Prior to the finalist presentations, other teams in the class presented their projects in a showcase to compete for a $250 audience choice award. After the showcase, finalists from each section presented their projects to their fellow students, professors and a panel of judges. The winning team was awarded a $1,000 prize toward their project, provided by the School’s Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership.
School of Public Policy Dean Robert Orr encouraged the students, saying, “You are pioneers in a whole new type of education.”
The finalists presenting included Terps for Smiles, an organization dedicated to eliminating the stigma around mental health diagnoses by providing students with information on diagnoses, lifestyle solutions and campus and emergency services; STEMerse, a group that worked with New Community for Children to implement STEM related projects in their curriculum; No Pressure, a group that hosted workshops and provided resources on dealing with stress to middle school students; and Slam the Gap, an organization that works to narrow the achievement gap by building the vocabulary of elementary school students by using poetry and rap.
The winner of the $250 audience choice award was Mocha Difference, a group focused on spreading awareness of labor exploitation. Slam the Gap was awarded the grand prize of $1,000 toward their cause.
Jennifer Littlefield, director of the School of Public Policy Public Leadership Program and associate director of the Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, told students, “It’s been an honor and privilege to teach this class, and I hope you continue to do good!”
You can view photos from the Do Good Now course competition on the SPP Flickr account.