Shannon St. Pierre, Creative Learning Solutions Analyst, was recently asked to sit on a panel of judges to evaluate high school students and their entries to the Social Venture Innovation Challenge (SVIC). Students were instructed to submit videos and written proposals to outline a social business venture that solves a major social or environmental problem. Facilitated by Faina Bukher, Program Manager, and Fiona Wilson, Executive Director at UNH’s Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise (CSIE), Shannon was asked to judge student proposals and presentations based on innovation and originality, financial sustainability, identification of a problem, the impact their business would have on social or environmental factors, and presentation skills.
She sat on a panel with three other judges: Matt Wilhelm, a previous SVIC winner, Selina Taylor, an Associate Director at UNH, and Alex Fried, the first SVIC winner and Founder and Director of the Post Landfill Action Network. The judges were impressed with the hard work and ingenuity that was clearly demonstrated during the students’ presentation. The winning submission was called “Healthy Minds, Healthy Children.” The proposal focused on resettled refugee children for elementary school children under the age of 14, and proposed an afterschool program that would offer play therapy and specialized exposure therapy to aid in treating PTSD and traumatic exposure. The student’s presentation and research was well thought out and addressed a newly emerging problem in a socially innovative way.
Shannon commented, “I am thrilled to have participated in the challenge in its first year, and five years later, to now have the privilege to be a judge for the SVIC High School Track. I am sincerely proud of NH’s socially minded and innovative youth!” Dare Mighty Things has hosted several interns for the UNH Social Innovation Internship program and Shannon began her career at DMT through this internship.
CSIE is an interdisciplinary center offering high impact experiences for UNH students to apply their academic learning in real world settings. CSIE drives student, faculty and staff engagement in social innovation, an exciting emerging field which harnesses the tools of business and public policy, as well as more traditional tools such as philanthropy, advocacy and civic engagement, to contribute to a socially and environmentally more sustainable world. Aligned with UNH’s vision to prepare individuals to excel in their careers, engage in their communities, and actively contribute to solving local and global challenges, CSIE initiates innovative experiential education and engaged research through active collaboration with the business and broader community. Learn more here: https://www.unh.edu/social-innovation.