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UMD Students Demonstrate How They "Do Good" at Challenge Finals

April 30, 2014

Megan Campbell 301-405-4390

Do Good ChallengeCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – Six finalist teams of University of Maryland students demonstrated their creativity, innovative spirit and passion for doing good during last night's third annual Do Good Challenge finals. Throughout the eight weeks of the challenge, students advocated, raised money, organized volunteers and created awareness for charitable causes to compete for more than $20,000 in cash prizes to support their cause.

During Tuesday's event, the finalists each presented their chosen causes to a panel of celebrity judges, which included NFL MVP and CBS NFL Today Analyst Boomer Esiason '84, legendary sports agent David Falk and Morgan Stanley Global Impact Funding Trust Board Member Bob Seaberg.

This year's competition consisted of two tracks: the project track, featuring student-run initiatives that included volunteering, fundraising, and/or building awareness for a cause or organization during the course of the Challenge; and the venture track, featuring student-founded and student-run organizations whose efforts during the Challenge were focused on taking the organizations to the next level.

Picked for their impact, leverage and creativity, this year's winners were:

Project Track:

  • First place: Students Helping Honduras, a nonprofit organization that organizes and leads students in building schools to help end extreme poverty and violence in Honduras through education and youth empowerment.
  • Second place: Terps Against Hunger, which raises awareness of hunger in the D.C. Metro area and provides emergency food assistance to local families.
  • Third place: Ride4ECO, an initiative to build a bike stop on the Anacostia bike trail at ECO City Farms to help provide healthy and affordable food to the local community.

Venture Track:

  • First place: JustLikeYou.org, a new social media network that provides an anonymous online pen pal system for people going through the coming out process.
  • Second place: Community Pipeline, a student-created initiative that allows UMD student groups to share their passion and skills with elementary and middle school students in Prince George's County.
  • Third place: Recovered Food CSA, a student venture that aims to reduce food waste, support local farmers , promote healthy eating, and feed local families in need by retrieving surplus produce from farms and grocery stores and selling it to college students.

The first place winner in the project track, Students Helping Honduras, tripled their number of student volunteers this year, taking 107 UMD students to Honduras to begin building Democracia Middle School. Throughout the eight weeks of the Challenge, the group raised more than $19,000 toward their larger goal of $25,000 to finish the school. The $6,000 prize money will be used to complete the school. The group also won the College of Behavioral and Social Science's $2,500 "Be the Solution" Audience Choice Award.

The venture track first place winner, JustLikeYou.org was designed to connect individuals going through the coming out process with trained volunteers with the experience and knowledge to provide support and advice. During the Challenge, JustLikeYou.org raised more than $14,000 to help fund the social network and the training of new volunteers. Founder Brooks Gabel said the $6,000 will allow the site to train 140 more volunteers, enabling the site to facilitate more than 1,000 conversations.

The Do Good Challenge competition was launched in 2012. The competition was run by the UMD School of Public Policy's Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership in partnership with the Robert H. Smith School of Business Center for Social Value Creation with Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management as the premier sponsor. During the competition period, between Feb. 10 and April 6, student participants organized thousands of volunteers and raised thousands of donation dollars for causes both locally and across the globe.

The competition supports the university's culture of philanthropy, innovation and entrepreneurship. During the finals, UMD President Wallace Loh said, "Our job is not only to develop the mind, but to develop the heart … Being in America is not a spectator sport, it implies active citizen engagement."

Additional information about the Challenge is available at http://www.dogood.umd.edu.