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Social Innovation Challenge

The Innovation Hub’s Social Innovation Challenge is an ideation competition where students or student groups compete to solve real-world problems. The goal of this program is to foster real-life, innovative solutions to specific challenges facing our communities. During the challenge, students or student groups will work as a team to develop an innovative approach, product, service, or program and present their ideas to be judged by a panel of innovative and entrepreneurial experts. The submission is an executive summary document that outlines the problem, solution, and implementation procedures you or your team are addressing (see competition guidelines for submission structure). The Innovation Hub’s Social Innovation Challenge will award a winning student group and runners up with cash prizes. 

What's the purpose?

Compete to solve real-world problems & develop an innovative approach, product, service, or program to present

Who can participate?

Any CSUSM student from any field may participate, individually or in groups

Win Prizes!

Winners of the challenge will receive a cash prize. 1st place - $1000, 2nd and 3rd place - $500 each.


Fall 2024 Challenge

Addressing Basic Needs Through Community-Driven Solutions

We are seeking practical applications, new regulations, changes to culture and societal attitudes, or changes to resources and technology that are solution oriented. Some areas of focus relating to basic needs may include:

        • Awareness, Access & Advocacy
        • Equity & Diverse Identities
        • Public Policy & Perception
        • Reducing & Mitigating Risk Factors
        • Social Innovation & Structural Reform
        • Technological Resources

Learn More!


Meet the Spring 2024 Winners

Challenge:  Reimagining Higher Education

The Spring 2024 Social Innovation Challenge invites students or student groups to propose innovative solutions in the arena of reimagining higher eduction. A student perspective is imperative in the pursuit of ideas that are sustainable, innovative, grounded, and relevant in a rapidly changing world.

spring 2024 winners
Spring 2024 Winners (L to R): Blake Fullerton, Isaiah Chantaca, Colleen Janey

Isaiah Chantaca won first place in the challenge for his proposal on Building Native Community Through Mentorship (The Red Path Program). From his proposal:  The Red Path program aims to partner with students of the Freshman and Sophomore level with students of either Senior or Junior status, with a mixture of Alumni, to navigate the crazy world of higher education. The program will feed itself with new students who wish to mentor and then allow for the next class of students to come into the program ready to start the cycle again, and continuing to grow the Native population here on campus to allow for not only more outreach for those students to their communities but events for Native students to be held in more volume here on campus, creating that sense of community and involvement.

Colleen Janey was the first runner up with her proposal The Motherhood Empowerment Group:  Supporting Student Moms.  From her proposal:  The Motherhood Empowerment Group would help reduce the barriers and strains student mothers experience. It will accomplish this through three aspects: facilitated conversations and activities that build community through peer connections, developing and harnessing their inherit abilities, and providing childcare for Women and Gender Equity Center events. Ultimately, the program will help mothers at CSUSM build their sense of community with others of a similar identity, incorporating their personal strengths and experiences to create goals for their future, and achieve social mobility after college.

Blake Fullerton was the second runner up in this challenge with his proposal for Athena, an AI phone calling/SMS integration built of of canvas.  From Blake's proposal:  It calls the student and personally reminds them of the assignments, along with data about the assignments that canvas has, (Description, points, turned in, upcoming assignments, etc..).  Along with reminders, it will be able to do other commands, such as update calendar, schedule meetings, sent texts...The people that will benefit the most from this will be students and adults that have a short attention span and have a hard time remembering what they need to do, hindering their education.

Learn more about our past challenge winners here.

Visit Fall 2024 to learn more about the upcoming challenge.
Please review the Competition Guide.