Finalists Announced for the Big Ideas Grand Prize Pitch Day

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Emmunify_CaptionIn November 2013, nearly 200 student teams representing 600 students applied to the Big Ideas@Berkeley student innovation contest with their creative ideas to improve society.  Throughout the course of this academic year these teams have taken advantage of the numerous resources offered by the Big Ideas contest (information session, writing workshops, judging feedback, advising hours and an 8-week mentorship) in order to refine their ideas and transform them into viable projects with great potential for real-world impact.

Now, on May 5th, six of the top teams from this year’s Big Ideas@Berkeley contest will pitch their projects to a panel of distinguished judges in the hope of receiving up to $5000 in additional seed funding for their initiatives. Big Ideas Grand Prize Pitch Day promises to be an inspiring and exciting event, involving a wide range of issues such as youth empowerment, campus safety, global health, sanitation and water rights.
The annual Pitch Day event will be held from 2-5pm in Blum Hall and is open to the public. Contestants will deliver a five-minute pitch followed by a question and answer session with the judges and audience members. Winners will be announced upon the conclusion of the pitches, followed by a reception with light refreshments.

Please join us for this inspiring event and root for your favorite Big Idea!Pitch Day Contestants:

ElectroSan — Recovering Nitrogen from Urine in Nairobi, Kenya: The team behind ElectroSan aims to improve global public health and environmental quality through the use of their product, which will make fertilizer out of human feces and apply electrochemical cells that recover nitrogen from human urine. The project aims to increase the affordability of sanitation in developing communities. ElectroSan is competing in the Global Poverty Alleviation category.

Heart Connection — An Interactive Multimedia Website for Adults with Complex Congenital Heart Disease to Empower, Connect, Advocate and Educate: This interdisciplinary team seeks to create a multimedia website for survivors of Complex Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD). The platform will include resources needed for CCHD adults and children, and an opportunity for adults with CCHD to share stories and experiences through audio, video, photography and creative writing. Heart Connection, a project competing in the Creative Expression for Social Justice category, aims to create a sense of belonging to the broader CCHD community.

LuxWalk: The undergraduate and interdisciplinary student team behind LuxWalk seeks to improve night safety on campus and in the Berkeley community by developing a crowd sourced mobile app. The app will allow students to find the safest route to walk, track the Night Safety Shuttle, and connect with others who are walking to the same area. LuxWalk will be representing the Improving Student Life category of Big Ideas at the pitch contest.

Mapping Waterways: This project seeks to create a participatory community mapping system of American waterways. The project will incorporate a collaborative process, bridging current water mapping endeavors by presenting government records and community-collected data on an easily accessible GIS platform and web interface. The team aims to improve the accessibility of information on water-quality that underserved communities can use to secure water rights. This is an Open Data category project.

Promoting Yogurt to Improve Child Nutrition in Far-Western Nepal: Competing in the Global Poverty Alleviation category, this team aims to reduce stunting and improve growth and wellbeing among children in Far-Western Nepal, a region that is rampant with child stunting. The project seeks to address this problem by promoting the feeding of locally made, safely prepared, protein and probiotic rich yogurt to children under 5 years of age. The project will draw on local expertise in yogurt production and child feeding to optimize efficiency and safety of yogurt production. The yogurt will be disseminated throughout Far-Western Nepal with the collaboration of local organizations, include Female Community Health Volunteers.

Youth Empowerment Centers for Marginalized Mexican Communities: This project, under the Promoting Human Rights category, seeks to motivate and empower at-risk teens from Aguascalientes, Mexico, and encourage them to be agents of change in their communities. The Adelante youth empowerment center hopes to heal a generation of Mexicans living in crime-ridden marginalized communities affected by the drug war. Adelante will offer summer programs to promote the professional advancement of youth and, in turn, the development of Mexican communities.

For additional information:
(510) 666-9120