Priorities:University of San Diego Student Priorities

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2019 Cohort Strategic Priorities

How might we encourage changemaking practices in a way that empowers faculty and students?

Make our ecosystem run more smoothly (Linnea)

While working on fellowship assignments, we discovered that the University of San Diego has a significant array of courses, programs, and events related to innovation and entrepreneurship, and many are available to any USD student. However, through interviewing other students and reflecting on our own experiences, we realized that many of these opportunities are only recognized by students within the specific school they’re being organized through (mainly the School of Business and the School of Engineering). Thus, even though there are many valuable opportunities that any student would benefit from regardless of what major they are pursuing, most don’t take advantage of them because they aren’t aware of them or don’t see how they relate to their major.

In order to improve upon this disjunct in the campus ecosystem, we developed ideas to boost collaboration between the different schools on our campus. For example, two (or more) departments could commit to pairing up for the semester. Professors from those departments could co-teach a class that combines their respective fields, that way students from, say, the political science department are exposed to a subject they wouldn’t ordinarily study, like psychology. Aside from the collaborative curriculum, this would also help promote events/programs to a wider array of students, because a professor from the business school could promote an entrepreneurship competition to their class that they’re co-teaching with the biology department, and thus, bio students will be more likely to branch out.

Furthermore, while many events and programs are advertised to students through specific major-related newsletter emails, it’s unlikely that a music student would be sent info about a design thinking event being hosted by the school of business via their music department newsletter. Thus, USD could create a more inclusive and encompassing newsletter that includes events/programs from all over campus.

Local Social Justice On Campus (Tanya)

University of San Diego participates in a lot of social justice projects outside of San Diego through University Minister, Changemaking, and senior design projects. However, there is a lot of work that can be done by USD students for USD. There are some social justice programs on campus such as the food pantry and community garden to help those on campus with food insecurities to be secure. 

The initiative proposed would be an app open to everyone at USD where people can put problems they would like to be solved at USD. On the app, interested people and groups can come together to take on a problem, come up with a solution, and put that on the app. The solutions for each issue would then be put into effect and slowly modified or changed entirely to ensure the problem is solved at the root. 

To make sure there are resources for people to be able to take on these projects, we would partner with the Engineering Exchange for Social Justice. This program gives participants a stipend for being apart of a social justice project and offers professional development courses to learn how to think about issues and come up with user centered solutions. Engineering Exchange for Social Justice is not only for engineering students, however, it does link students from all backgrounds with students and faculty from the Shiley Marcos School of Engineering as resources and to help create the solutions. We would also partner with on campus clubs that have an emphasis on issues brought up on the app such as sustainability, food insecurities, (dis)ability, etc. This allows students and faculty who cannot afford or do not have time to participate in social justice projects outside of the community to be able to make a positive change for the community they are apart of.

Make USD a more sustainable campus (Sophia)

In order to make USD a more sustainable campus, a campus-wide tupperware program is a viable and already well-supported option. This initiative would eliminate the waste of thousands of contaminated cardboard to-go boxes and plastic encasings that are thrown in the trash every single day across the entire campus. The key tactics required to bring this initiative to life include funding for the mass production of tupperware, reaching out to the marketing team on campus to color-coordinate the product with our school colors and logo, and receiving permission and support from Dining Services and eateries across campus. A similar program that began this semester (Fall 2019) is called Fill-a-Bottle where a one time purchase of a reusable bottle allows for unlimited refills of any beverage offered at any soda station on campus.

A 2012 waste audit revealed that USD's waste consists of 51% comingled recyclables, 41% solid waste, and 5% cardboard. All three of these waste factors and percentages would decrease significantly from the implementation of a tupperware program at USD. Additionally, Dining Services has already been approached and asked to establish a program like this several times in the past. Furthermore, not only would a tupperware system allow all three of USD's largest waste contributors to take a backseat and decrease their harmful impact on the sustainability goals of our campus, it would also allow our university to rank higher on the national list of eco-friendly and green college campuses.

USD students who are in support of this necessary program typically carry their own tupperware around with them in order to eliminate their own food waste. Students even offload the remaining food on thier plates into the plastic containers that dining services distributes across campus every day. By reusing the plastic enclosures distrubuted by the school, the single use plastic becomes multi-use. However, a sustainable tupperware system is the best alternative to the growing problem of food and plastic waste at our university.

Reward students for being Changemaking Scholars (Erica)

The Changemaker Trek is a program that we would love to implement here at USD. There is a general consensus that there could be more participation in and knowledge about the Changemaking aspect of campus. This program would help facilitate and encourage participation for students. To explain further, the Changemaker Trek would be a program in which students are rewarded an end prize for participating in changemaking. 

As of now, the specific requirements are a work in progress. We are envisioning some of the requirements being things like students going to deisgn-thinking workshops, participating in Changemaker Student Committee Meetings, entering into the Changemaker Challenge, etc. We will continue to work on and finalize the requirements in the future.

Furthermore, the end “prize” is also a work in progress. One idea proposed was that students who complted the Trek would be awarded the title of “Changemaker Scholar” and would be given a pin to wear at graduation, as well as a special announcement at the ceremony. Others have proposed that going to the Ashoka U conference would be a great ending prize, yet others see that this should be a requirement in the actual Trek itself. Our team is working on finalizing the requirements and prizes, and we cannot wait to share!
Once we have these finalized and want to get the ball rolling, we will meet with various important faculty on campus. We will formulate a 3-5 year plan about how this could be integrate into the students’ time here on campus. Furthermore, we have a marketing strategy for the Trek. The poster would be designed like a treasure map. The map would have various “X” points on it that describe what the student does at each one. At the end of the path, there will be a picture of treasure explaining the prize for completion.

A clear format and approach is necessary when piloting this idea. Our team will continue to work on this to propose it for upcoming years!

2018 Cohort Strategic Priorities

How might we expand existing changemaking opportunities in a way that builds community?

Connect a network of motivated students

Connect a network of motivated students interested in innovation to be the student representatives for our USD Changemaker Identity. USD Thread: Our idea is to model a component of the nonprofit organization called Thread at our university. Students would apply to the program both as current student leaders and incoming first year students. 100 students would be selected into the program. Every month a group of 10 students randomly assigned to a different group every month would meet to discuss a specific topic related to social justice, innovation, and the USD sense of community both on campus and off campus. After 10 dinners and discussions with a new group of 10 people, we will have a large dinner with all 100 participants of USD Thread to discuss their ideas and findings with the administration. As a sociology major I know that tackling most social justice issues starts with a conversation and informing people of different perspectives. This idea of Thread is to connect a diverse student body to identify with our changemaker identity. We have prototyped a similar model to Thread with a Changemaker event called "Dinner with Strangers". The discussions have always been very engaging and the students feel very connected after having the space to talk about important issues. I think expanding this event with more structure and purpose would greatly contribute to building connections among a diverse student body.

Provide concrete opportunities to engage in the ideas behind changemaking through the Changemaker Student Committee

Through the Changemaker Student Committee, interested students will have the opportunity to learn the ideas behind Human Centered Design through taking action on the exisiting projects within the Chanegmaker Hub (i.e: My Story). Students will build community with other passionate individuals as they go through the process of planning and implementing a project that meets a need on our campus. In addition, the Changemaker Student Committee serves as a space for students who are not familiar with changemaking or social justice issues to come and explore different options to help them discover what they are most passionate about.

Connect student leaders

To connect student leaders we have decided to create a Changemaker Student Core. This Core allows leaders of Student run organizations with similar mindsets to work together and encourage collaboration and increased involvement. With student leaders working together we can ensure that social innovation and entrepreneurship events are better publicized and also better attended. With a shared calendar we can make sure that events do not overlap allowing students to get involved with as much as possible on campus. We will also work with Associated Students to make sure student voice is heard. We will make sure there is a strong connection between associated students and the Changemaker Hub as both can strongly benefit from each others support.

Roadmap for Student Involvement

Market to students through an independent forum discussing opportunities that students can get involved in. Students will be able to promote, discuss, and actively engage in conversation about meaningful passions and common interests with other students on campus. This will help promote and navigate the opportunities on campus and allow students to engage in what they are looking for. It will reduce the clutter. Connect students with other innovators across other university campuses.

In order to expand opportunities on and off campus we will reach out to other universities interested in social innovation and social entrepreneurship. These events will include, hackathon, social innovation competitions and design thinking bootcamps to engage with the issues in our community.

Expand Social Change Corps Program

The Social Change Corps (SCC) supports students wanting to explore changemaking opportunities by providing financial support and mentoring. This initiative promotes students’ understanding of social issues and social justice as they actively participate in a community-based or social enterprise experience, locally or abroad. The 2017 SCC offers $500 during a semester for a team of three to five students to explore who they are as Changemakers and to develop their skills in framing social issues and creating innovative approaches to addressing them. All the SCC teams receive mentoring from the start.

Utilize the First-Year Living Learning Communities (LLC's) to expose new students to USD's changemaker identity

At the University of San Diego, we have Living Learning Communities to help first-year students get accustomed to college. This program places students who live in the same residence hall in a class together once a semester to discuss a topic unique to their living community. Currently, these LLC's are underutilized so we are working to ensure that this program better meets the needs of the students. While we are analyzing the program, we plan to utilize this great opportunity that all first-year students get to be apart of and incorporate changemaker topics within each class. We hope to expose all students to our Changemaker identity as a University as it is an honor and a privilege.

As fellows, we will be working with the administration to 1.assist faculty in creating meaningful assignments/experiences that link to each LLC theme, 2.provide students meaningful experiences that connect their first-year experience to their community, and 3.provide a consistent/steady involvement of students/faculty/staff for our community partners in ways that are beneficial for their needs/development/growth. This is a great opportunity that will have a great benefit on the students and also on the local community and we look forward to tailoring the LLC program so that it is in the best interest of the students.

Related Links 

Campus Overview

Members of this team: 

2019 Cohort

Erica Buyalos

Sophia Austin

Tanya Keval

Linnea Leidy

2018 Cohort

Isabelle Ashraf

Julia Heaton

Reijer Den Dulk

Riley Dean