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Students Address Social & Environmental Challenges

A group of Derryfield students recently participated in The Social Venture Innovation Challenge (SVIC) High School Track. The program started in 2013 in partnership with Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize recipient. Yunus was recognized “for founding the Grameen Bank and pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance, loans that are given to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans.” SVIC was established with similar ideals and seeks to guide students to “address some of society’s most pressing social and environmental challenges by using their creativity in designing novel, sustainable, business-orientated solutions.”

Three student teams emerged from Brent Powell’s Global Issues: Sustainable Development class. They spent several weeks devising a solution to a present-day problem and designing a “product” to present at the Challenge, held at the University of New Hampshire.

One Derryfield team, Solely: Thinking Beyond the Shoe, earned second place. Their proposal focused on launching a shoe manufacturing and development company based in Africa that would provide 100% recyclable shoes to school-aged children in need. The team noted that, while there is an abundance of footwear in the world, many children in Third World countries lack footwear, in particular, sub saharan Africa. They found that in spite if many donations, shoes were not getting to those targeted. The proposed local manufacturing plant would ensure those in need would receive the products, while building an economic engine in the region. The sneakers would be created with 100% recyclable materials and sold at full price—profits would then be re-invested in the company to produce shoes for children in need at a fraction of the retail price. The team included George Henrich ’18, Eric Mayer ’19, Jeffrey Pratt ’18, and Oliver Simon ’18. Watch video.

The Bar Code team, Darby Gillett ’18, Andrew Lombardozzi ’18, and Cailley Rawson ’18 chose to address the lack of resources female college students have when they feel unsafe or at risk of sexual assault. To combat this issue, each campus would develop its own personalized student code which acts as a login for the app. The app would provide fast access to a myriad of resources, including police, campus security, transportation services, and sexual assault hotline. Watch video.

Team Vertical Designs addressed the rise of mental illness among those that live in urban areas with little connection to nature. The team, comprised of Taylor Carrobis ’18, Charles Lynch, Maddox Ormiston ’18, and Julia Shepherd ’18, noted the lack of healing space in hospitals for psychiatric patients in Manchester. They believe that creating green spaces could help lessen the prevalence of mental health issues. Using recycled wood products and sustainable plantings, individuals would have the power to improve their environment with vertical gardens that require minimal upkeep and are easily installed. Taylor shared, “I really enjoyed the challenge because it was an opportunity to learn real-world lessons, such as long term team work, coming up with solutions for a real world problem, and how to effectively present our product/idea to a group of people.” Watch video.

Students Jeff and Charlie talked about their experience with the design thinking process during a recent All-School Meeting.

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