Social Changemaker Challenge Winners Announced

November 13, 2020

Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact and Principal® are pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural Social Changemaker Challenge. The challenge seeks to leverage higher education’s human capital to create innovative solutions to complex social problems. It helps students gain experience addressing complex social problems by demonstrating highly sought-after workforce skills like leadership, problem-solving, critical thinking, adaptability, and teamwork.

Seven teams of current college students in business or related majors worked with a community partner to create and pitch their solution to a panel of Principal staff members and community judges.

The first-place $10,000 award winner is Team Hearing Glasses from Minnesota State University, Mankato. They have worked with the disability community on and off campus to develop new technology for the inclusion of those hard of hearing or deaf in society in the form of glasses that convert voice and sound to text in real-time.

The second-place $8,000 finalist is Team Alight from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, Twin Cities Campus. They are working with the Alight organization to develop new web-based tools to address unemployment in Kismayo, Somalia.

The third-place $2,000 finalist is Team Cedar Valley from the University of Northern Iowa. They have developed the Generation HR podcast to raise awareness and change practices related to LGBTQ+ employment rights and other workplace inclusion.

We also want to recognize the other four teams with honorable mentions. These students worked hard to participate and are doing great work in their communities:

  • Team Payne, St. Catherine University, supporting small businesses in the Payne Avenue area.
  • Team House of Hope, University of Northern Iowa, supporting young mothers with environmentally-friendly personal care supplies.
  • Team Merchants Bank, Winona State University, supporting rural economic development and connecting students to jobs and internship opportunities through StartUp Winona State.
  • Team MY Place, Minnesota State University, Mankato, supporting transportation for low-income youth programs.

Awards will be paid directly to the community partner organizations working with the winning teams. Funds will support further development and implementation of these innovative community solutions.

Together, Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact strengthens the capacity of colleges and universities to fulfill the public purposes of higher education through its network of 58 campuses. This includes educating students through community and civic learning experiences and making an impact in communities through reciprocal partnerships that address community-identified goals. IAMNCC creates partnership opportunities, supports quality programming through professional development, and promotes the importance of the civic mission.

Principal Community Relations has a focus to build financial security in communities where Principal Life Insurance Company operates. Insurance products and plan administrative services provided through Principal Life Insurance Co., a member of the Principal Financial Group®, Des Moines, IA 50392.

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