More than 1,000 Oregonians gathered on Oct. 1, 2012 to be inspired by Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus and watch a competition among college students from all across the state.
The Oregon Social Business Challenge competition featured teams from Eastern Oregon University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Western Oregon University, Southern Oregon University, Portland State University, Oregon State University, University of Oregon, and Reed College. Student proposals were focused on solving a wide range of local, regional, and global challenges.
Photos above (l-r): Governor John Kitzhaber, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, and OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner; Dr. Yunus greets WOU President Mark Weiss.
The WOU student teams projects focused on supporting the arts in K-12 education and food security. Pictured above (l-r): Associate Professor Shirley Lincicum, Paul Gutzman, Elise Nibler, Ronnell Staudinger, Amanda Quitugua, and Professor Paul Disney.
Planting the Seed
by Paul Gutzman and Elise Nibler
Food Security: Planting the Seed addressed the lack of food security in Oregon by involving more students in successful and educational gardening programs. It would provide low cost comprehensive gardening kits to schools ensuring successful gardens. The goals of the gardening kits are: to provide an opportunity for students to engage in gardening, to educate the students about the importance of eating fresh food, and to involve families in order to teach and promote food security in the community. The kits would include soil, seeds, fertilizer, watering supplies, a wheelbarrow, tools, pre-assembled raised beds, an optional shed; and educational materials, a plan for coordinating the garden, and information on how to harvest the garden. It was also provide a guide for school kitchens on how to incorporate the food into school meals.
by Ronnell Staudinger and Amanda Quitugua
Arts Education for Middle/High Schools: Art Smarts seeks to provide leadership and resources to enable schools to retain the benefits of arts education and involvement by integrating the arts into the core curriculum. The initial target market for Art Smarts includes middle and high schools in Polk county. Art Smarts would work with schools to design an end-of-the-year production in the form of a play, and provide ongoing support throughout the year to the school. Project support would include bringing in additional help through interns who would work with teachers and administration and provide help to promote and facilitate community involvement. This production is intended to generate funds to be retained by schools to help support art programs.
The winning teams
A student team from OSU won the challenge with their proposal for STAR Sports, to establish a sports league for students with disabilities in Benton County. They will receive incubation support from Springboard Innovation and the PSU Social Business Incubator. They also shared a $5,000 scholarship from the Oregon University System.
The second place team, from the University of Oregon, proposed the Oregon Community Health Van, a mobile healthcare clinic that will bring affordable healthcare services to communities in need in rural communities across Oregon. In addition to incubation support, the UO team won a $3,000 scholarship from OUS.
The third place team from SOU proposed Aquaponics, a food security and water management program that addresses local issues in the Rogue Valley that would increase food production. Aquaponics received a $2,000 OUS scholarship in addition to incubation support from Springboard Innovation and the PSU Social Business Incubator.