Three NYU students were winners in the Social Venture Challenge at the Clinton Global Initiative University conference, which took place at Arizona State University from March 21 to March 23. Stern sophomore Samir Goel, Gallatin sophomore Hannah Dehradunwala and CAS sophomore Mansi Prakash represented NYU and were among 15 teams who were named as the newest resolution fellows.
Resolution fellows are a part of the Resolution Project Community and have access to resources including pro bono legal services and career advice. The Resolution Project Community works closely with major organizations like CGI and Net Impact, which are devoted to creating social impact around the world.
Goel and Dehradunwala won $5,500 for their start-up called Transfernation. Goel said the start-up is an online program that works to bring the extra food from corporate events to homeless shelters and soup kitchens.
“Now that we have the capital, we can start creating real social impact,” Goel said. “Right now we waste 40 percent of the food produced in America and if we could repurpose this we would have more than enough to end hunger in America.”
Prakash won $3,500 for her venture called A Brighter Future, which focuses on using compact fluorescent light bulbs to alleviate poverty in developing nations, starting with Behlana Village, India.
“Over the course of a year, 100 households within this village will be converted from using incandescent to CFL bulbs,” Prakash said. “These savings will allow low-income households to spend money on other aspects of life such as food, education [and] health care, thus improving quality of life and alleviate poverty.”
According to a press release from CGI on March 14, over 1,000 students from over 300 universities and 75 countries attended the conference.
“The CGI U 2014 program will feature sessions that will examine issues throughout CGI U’s five focus areas: Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation and Public Health,” the press release said. “Throughout the meeting, students will engage in various topic- and skill-based sessions, which will empower them to get involved with solving major global challenges while they’re still in school.”
In order to participate at CGI U, students had to create an initiative that works to make a specific change across CGI U’s focus areas. Once a commitment is accepted, the teams, made up of one to three members, go through a semi-final and final round of pitching.
“The competition is for students around the world who are passionate about creating social impact,” Goel said. “In order to get accepted to CGI U, you have to create a commitment to action. Ours was Transfernation.”
As part of the resolution fellowship, the ventures are put into the process of registering to become nonprofit organizations.
“In the long term, I hope to continue on with the expansion of this project with guidance from mentors — to continue bringing CFL bulbs to both households in the same village and households in other villages in developing nations to improve quality of life and make a substantial impact,” Prakash said.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 24 print edition. Ann Schmidt is a news editor. Email her at [email protected]