GOOD Maker Challenge: Seeking College Changemakers

Ashoka U is partnering with GOOD Maker to find budding leaders.

Students across the country are demonstrating they can change the world while still in college, and GOOD Maker—our new platform for finding and funding great ideas from the community—is looking to help these changemakers bring their ideas to life.

What's a changemaker? Ashoka U, Ashoka's initiative to foster social entrepreneurship on college campuses, shared profiles of some of these inspiring young people. Now, Ashoka U is partnering with GOOD Maker to find more budding leaders.

Nick Harris, College of the Atlantic (pictured above): Nick used his extensive knowledge and passion for biochemistry and social entrepreneurship to develop a venture that turns waste into environmentally sustainable fuel, Gourmet Butanol.

As a student at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, Nick took advantage of all the entrepreneurial opportunities that the campus offered him. Having always been intrigued by issues like waste-disposal and fossil-fuel alternatives, Nick and colleague Lisa Bjerke combined their passions into a pilot project and a business plan for their social entrepreneurship class that would later become one of the first ventures supported by the Sustainable Enterprise Hatchery, the university’s incubator. Their company, Gourmet Butanol, "turns yesterday's eggplant parmesan into tomorrow's fuel," and has attracted a significant amount of grants in research and development money.

(2) Priscila Lee, The New School: Priscila had her “A-ha” moment during her daily commute, and decided to help the planet with a very simple solution: painting rooftops white to save energy.

Lee, a Queens native, noticed while riding the train on a hot summer day that all the rooftops of the buildings she saw were black, which enhances the absorption of heat. Lee decided to start WhiteTops, a student-run nonprofit organization that advocates and paints roofs white, while conducting research on its benefits. In its year of existence, WhiteTops has received grants and support from major figures like former president Bill Clinton, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, NYU, The New School and Ashoka.

(3) Charis Elliott, Arizona State University: Charis founded a fair-trade nonprofit organization while she completed her political science degree and raised her son as a single mother.

With a background of activism stretching back to her teen years, Charis developed the idea of her venture, “Las Otras Hermanas,” when she was sent as a fair-trade expert to post-tsunami Indonesia. She saw an opportunity to build capacity for women to earn their own sustainable income. LOH is a nonprofit organization that allows people to buy fair-trade products, with 100 percent of the revenue going back to the people who produce the goods.


Next month, Ashoka U's network will gather to share and learn best practices from universities that inspire and empower students like these. GOOD is excited to be partnering with Ashoka U to increase the impact of their conference through a challenge on GOOD Maker.

In the coming year, we'll be issuing more challenges for changemakers across the country. Want to be notified about upcoming challenges? Click here to sign up.

Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

Keep Reading Show less
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less