NBCUniversal is committed to engaging partners in pro-social initiatives across the company’s portfolio. One notable example of such a partnership is MSNBC teaming up with Net Impact, a leading nonprofit and community of more than 60,000 student and professional leaders who are dedicated to creating positive social and environmental change. Together they launched the Growing Hope Challenge in November 2014 during the Net Impact Conference in Minneapolis, Minn.
For the challenge, college students from across the country were given the opportunity to become change-agents by tackling pressing issues in their communities. Students were asked to submit innovative, feasible, and scalable approaches to one of the following problems: making STEM opportunities more accessible for girls and young women, fighting malnourishment and hunger through technology, and promoting the expansion of renewable energies.
The winning submissions, announced on March 6, 2015, demonstrated meaningful and impactful solutions to these issues.
In the STEM category, Team Hy(pi*tia), from Baruch College, proposed an interactive online game that helps girls explore STEM careers by putting them in the shoes of famous female professionals.
To promote renewable energy, Team ChargeRage, from the University of California, Santa Barbara designed a service that provides dedicated parking spots and renewable energy charging stations to individuals in urban areas to encourage wider use of electric vehicles.
Team FreshSpire, from East Carolina University, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and the University of Pennsylvania took on the malnourishment challenge. They pitched a mobile app, called FreshSpire, that alerts users when grocers offer daily markdowns on soon-to-be discarded food, helping to make fresh food more accessible to low-income families.
The winners received an expense-free trip to Seattle, WA for the 2015 Net Impact Conference, an invitation to Net Impact’s VIP luncheon at the Conference, and a grant for the students’ Net Impact chapters to help turn their ideas into reality. The winners also received a one-hour phone call with an industry expert to further advance their ideas.
The Growing Hope Challenge is part of MSNBC’s Growing Hope initiative, which provides a communication platform for people across America to share their ideas for social change in their communities.