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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.

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