For many university students and young people around the world, the 2016/2017 academic year has not been very hopeful. There is a sense that world leaders are shying away from addressing global problems such as climate change and forced migration, yet, as the generation with the greatest level of higher education, we are acutely aware of how seriously these problems threaten our future.
For this reason, we have realized the need to take action.
On April 10th, as part of Impact Journalism Day Universities (IJD-U), student newspapers from 20 renowned universities, united by Sparknews, are collectively sharing stories about 30 student initiatives that aim to address serious social and environmental problems.
By writing about these innovative projects, the 20 participating student newspapers, show the collective force that the media has to catalyze change. From teaching each other how to use computer science for social good, to creating platforms that crowdfund for university fees, to providing peer support for mental health, to sharing education with refugees, these stories show that students are actively challenging the notion that nothing can be done.
Additionally, by each newspaper sharing their articles with each other, student journalists are given broad visibility and the individual actions of young people will be seen around the world, offering these initiatives the chance to grow and be replicated. One fortunate student will also be invited to attend the One Young World conference in Bogotá to meet with other pioneering young leaders.
IJD-U is inspired by Impact Journalism Day and Solutions&Co, two events created by Sparknews which bring together more than 80 of the world’s leading newspapers including The Financial Times (UK), USA Today, The China Daily, Die Welt (Germany), Le Figaro (France), El País (Spain), and Asahi Shimbun (Japan), and many others, to bring awareness to social innovation.
To read their stories visit impactjournalismday-universities.com/read-our-stories .
IJD-U will also be celebrated on April 24th in New York as part of a Sparknews sustainability event hosted by BNP Paribas, IJD-U’s sponsor.
Louis Slade, Manager, Impact Journalism Day Universities
Christian de Boisredon, Founder, Sparknews
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow the links below to read this year’s articles dedicated to initiatives working to resolve global issues.
“Princeton Citizen Scientists is a group of about 40 science, engineering, and social science graduate students who aim to address the current political discourse with their expertise. “We, as scientists, have important contributions to add to the public debate and the public discussion of scientific legislation,” Michael Hepler, a 4th year graduate student in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and another co-founder of Princeton Citizen Scientists, said.”
“As one of the first and most long-term projects run through Student Action, the volunteering society for the university which prides itself on sustainability, dating all the way back to the 60s, its aim is to provide something as simple as a hot drink and friendly face in times of trouble for the community. Each volunteer is trained to signpost using the Street Support application so, though not equipped themselves to transfer those from the streets into housing, the volunteers are experts in directing people to the services available, whether it be clean clothes, a shower, or a hot meal.”
“University of Washington student Jumana Karwa and colleague Saurav Tomar have begun development of a video compression program called FaceCrop, thanks to a little-known grant program called Amazon Catalyst and its partnership with the university. FaceCrop allows for otherwise lengthy high-definition videos, specifically lecture and educational videos, to become more data efficient. The team’s inspiration came from the lack of access to high-speed internet in developing countries, where millions of people would otherwise benefit from better data connection.”
“UC Berkeley students are developing a website and mobile app to connect campus students experiencing mental health issues with other students who face similar experiences. The startup, called SafeSpace, placed first in the Improving Student Life category of UC Berkeley’s 2016 Big Ideas contest, an annual competition aimed at providing students with startup ideas and resources to help turn ideas into realities. The team won $10,000 in the competition — money it has used to begin developing an app and website to foster communication and connection among students suffering from mental health problems.”
“One Duke medical student’s NGO aims to expand career development options in science, technology engineering and math for youth in Nigeria. Teminioluwa Ajayi, a third-year medical student at Duke, co-founded Grow with Nigeria three years ago after moving to the United States aged 15. Grow with Nigeria conducts summer programs for high school students in Nigeria with four-day experiential learning courses. Nigerian students involved in the program are able to take part in practical hands-on experiences across STEM fields.”
“The Coffee Run is a project run by students volunteering with the Oxford Hub and with collaboration from the Oxford Circular Collective. Its aim is to redistribute coffee waste from cafés to allotments, using the waste as fertilizer and compost and creating a circular economy, where waste production of one good (coffee) is reused in the production of another good (fruit and veg).”
“Launched this year, Silo (silofunds.com) is a funding platform aimed at university students struggling to find funding for their course. The result of a year’s work funded by St Anne’s Incubator Projects, it now boasts more than 2,000 users and is setting its sights on academic institutions across the UK. Wong hopes that a dedicated crowdfunding platform for higher education will more easily match students with like-minded companies and philanthropists, allowing them to hit their targets. Silo are already in discussion with three or four colleges about helping redirect alumni to fund prospective applicants.”
“LEAD Palestine is an initiative that aims to empower, motivate, and inspire the next generation of Palestinian youth. Founded by two NYU undergraduate students, RJ Khalaf and Hannah Benson, LEAD Palestine is a leadership camp for seventh and eighth graders, living in New Askar, the refugee camp where Khalaf was offered his first cigarette almost a decade ago. For Khalaf and Benson, LEAD Palestine is a way of putting their leaderships skills in service to their passion for helping support Palestinian refugees.”