On May 9, 2018, undergraduate students from four sections of “Do Good Now” courses competed in the Do Good Now Course Competition for the chance to win $1,000 toward their projects and coaching from the Do Good Institute.
Students from across campus in each Do Good Now course were tasked with creating semester-long projects that do good for causes and issues they care about. Teams tackled issues ranging from veteran support, sexual assault, pediatric health and education equity. The Do Good Now course is offered to students through the School of Public Policy, the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, iGive and Honors.
Modeled after the annual, campus-wide Do Good Challenge, finalist teams at the Do Good Now Course Competition presented pitches for a panel of judges that included Shawnta Jackson, Founder & Chief Executive of Cause Engagement Associates; Gautam Raghavan, consultant, GR Strategic LLC; and Jeffrey Richardson, Director of Coaching for the Unlocking Potential Foundation.
Bob Grimm, director of the Do Good Institute, kicked off the event by encouraging students to continue with their projects after the semester, and not wait until after graduation to make an impact for the issues they care about. He emphasized, “you can make a great social impact now.”
The finalists were:
- Aid to the Vets: Fighting the “After-War” is dedicated to increasing awareness of the challenges that many veterans face as they readapt to a civilian lifestyle. They are committed to supporting veterans and their families by providing financial and emotional support through partnerships with A Million Thanks, Arnold Air Society, University of Maryland Dining Services, and TerpVets. They have engaged the University of Maryland community to send letters of appreciation and express support to those who have challenged hardships for us.
- conquer.ed is helping long-term pediatric hospital patients stay on track academically. This team of BSOS students is developing a web application that will enable students to stay connected with their teachers and classmates when they need to miss several weeks or more of school due to a medical condition. They hope that keeping the connections strong will help these young patients maintain a sense of normalcy in their lives. conquer.ed has formed a partnership with Phoenix Children’s Hospital and is at the early stage of developing their application prototype.
- Defense Against Sexual Harassment (DASH) facilitates self-defense programs for women on campus to not only improve physical ability, but to empower and improve the self-confidence of individuals who attend. Their first event allowed 10 women to learn verbal and physical skills to protect themselves in the event of unwanted sexual attention. Additionally, they have forged partnerships with key organizations that make their model not only innovative, but sustainable long term.
- Her Truth encourages young black women to cultivate an informed and creative voice by providing them with tools that are not easily accessible through traditional secondary education. The program provides a curriculum that focuses on literary works and other discourse by minority authors, a collaborative safe space that facilitates creativity without restriction, and an opportunity to publish their creative work in a collective anthology. With these tools, Her Truth enables young black women to confidently share their lived experiences in their own voice. Our ultimate goal is to cultivate a community of informed, creative women who can support each other during their journeys of self-discovery.
During the competition, 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 Bridge Builders, which works with at-risk high school students to navigate their educational options for after high school in hopes of helping these students make the best decision for their long-term future; Diamondback Defense, a student-led organization that works to combat sexual assault on campus through self-defense training – making the UMD community smarter, stronger and safer; She’s A Terp, a group passionate about increasing awareness and educating University of Maryland’s student population on gender inequalities in politics; and Terrapin Teach-In, whichworks to start meaningful discussions between people on all sides of current debates by facilitating expert panels and group discussions.
After deliberation, the judges announced Defense Against Sexual Harassment won first place and will receive the $1,000 prize and coaching from the Do Good Institute and Do Good Accelerator. Terrapin Teach-In won the semi-finalist pitch and will receive coaching to continue to develop their project.