My Earth is a social enterprise that provides training and employment for Australia’s remote Indigenous communities in the construction industry. My Earth engages local people to construct low-cost but high-quality, environmentally-sustainable housing. It uses locally-sourced soil as the primary building material, in a technique called Compressed Earth Block (CEB) technology. This construction technique has been demonstrated in East Africa, but not widely adopted in Australia. CEB is a low-skill construction technique, which enables My Earth to engage people who may have missed out on a good education. The program uses a flexible, tiered training and employment model to lower the barriers to entry into the labor market. It starts with brick pressing and a builder-trainer program, and ultimately ongoing employment in local construction and maintenance. Its flexibility, direct linkage to a job pipeline, and commitment to community involvement, sets it apart from traditional remote workforce development projects.
1.3 million people suffered from blindness in America in 2010 and that number is expected to triple by 2050. Many blind people click with their tongue as a means of soliciting echos from the environment which are processed by their brain and used to locate objects and navigate. While it has been shown to be extremely effective, the technique is difficult to master. The optimal clicking frequency is a critical part of the technique and is a challenge for many to learn. Sonic Eyewear looks like a regular pair of sunglasses that automates the clicking process by generating the optimal frequency of clicks on-demand. It sends forward-looking directional clicks when the user lightly taps her jaw to activate the signal. The technology leverages the power of the human brain to perform echolocation, which competitors have failed to do.
Of the over 114,000 patients in the United States on the national transplant list, twenty die every day while waiting for an organ transplant, and every ten minutes another patient is added. Due to shortcomings in current organ preservation techniques, transplantation is prohibitively expensive, limited geographically to areas with large donor pools, and incredibly inefficient. This is driven by the short window of viability of organs after removal, on the order of four to six hours for hearts and lungs. Extending this viability from a few hours to a few days could transform the accessibility and affordability of organ transplantation, and could prevent up to 30% of all deaths in the US. The team has developed a novel solid-state device based on emergent thermodynamic principles. The isochoric cryopreservation chamber is capable of preserving live organs for long periods of time, which the team believes has the potential to transform the modern medical industry.
Unlike other poly-tunnel solar dryers in the market that use steel frames and metallic base plates, Chap-Dyer uses moisture resistant eucalyptus poles as frames and rough stone slates as a base. These materials are readily available in all parts of Uganda and very affordable, reducing the total cost of a dryer from $1,000 to $200 for an 18 cubic meter drying space. The use of stone slates instead of steel plates allows for the dryer to perform optimally during day time and night time, drying twice as fast as the standard poly-tunnel dryer in the market. Unlike steel frames that require precise engineering and fabrication for easy assembly on site, Chap-Dryer which uses eucalyptus and stones requires simple carpentry and masonry joinery techniques which takes less labor cost and minimal electric power cost as all components can be fabricated and assembled on site.
Wet Technik is a student startup founded at Makerere University looking at reducing the costs of water usage and environmental pollution by hazardous wastewater through the use of constructed wetlands. The team is comprised of three students from a multi-disciplinary background with a shared passion for solving the ever-present problem around wastewater handling and to bring to light the potential of its recycling. Through using a mixture of waste bottle caps and pumice in the constructed wetland, Wet Technik has proven that it will reduce the area requirements, making this system even more accessible to factories, schools and eventually households. The constructed wetland is already the cheapest and easiest way to maintain a system to recycle grey water making it very attractive to people in Uganda.
CoopNet’s vision is to create a digital financing model for shared housing, leveraging the community activation of crowdfunding to bring together residents and investors who believe in the virtues of cooperative living. Not only would such an online platform provide a legal, regulated, and contractually sound method for cooperatives to access financing, it offers the flexibility needed to scale across different property types and urban markets. Every cooperative housing venture financed via CoopNet would create immediate and lasting benefits for local communities: reducing overall housing costs, offering an alternative and communal style of living, and creating opportunities for residents to shape their communities rather than depending on governments, banks, or real estate developers. By June 2020, CoopNet plans to facilitate the formation of approximately 14 cooperative housing units, connecting over 70 local residents, and saving residents an estimated $320,000 in cumulative housing costs, with greater savings expected as the co-ops continue and CoopNet expands.
Dance has been shown to be very impactful on individuals and the community at the emotional, cognitive and physical level. However, there aren’t many inclusive dance classes for people with limb differences (PWLD). Dance for All Bodies (DfAB) addresses this gap through organizing monthly adaptive (interpretive, adapted to their own physical abilities) dance classes for people with limb differences in the Bay Area. Through these classes DfAB aims to create an inclusive and non-judgmental space for PWLD to dance, express themselves, and find community in shared experience. DfAB takes charge of finding an accessible dance space and scheduling teachers who have experience and interest in teaching adaptive dance classes. These classes will be made accessible through outreach and partnerships with disability organizations, hospitals and dance companies in the Bay Area.
The healthcare field requires people who can navigate cultural barriers to communicate with and comfort patients. However, the current underrepresentation of minorities among health professionals is detrimental to the quality of patient care in the healthcare system. Helix is a non-profit organization working to diversify the healthcare workforce by facilitating direct exposure to health professions for high school students from minority backgrounds, allowing students to explore potential health careers. Attending Helix’s free one-week immersion program and subsequent four-week health internship will provide aspiring pre-health high school students with an unparalleled opportunity to participate in biological and clinical skill labs, obtain a CPR certification, and shadow a variety of health professionals from similar backgrounds. Through the Helix experience, students will not only discover and develop their interests, but also realize that they are not alone in their pursuits and that success is attainable.
At UC Berkeley, student food insecurity is rampant while food waste is pervasive. Between expensive meals eating out and emergency provision at the Food Pantry, thousands of students are left without a consistent, affordable food option while Cal Dining and the campus gardens are flush with unused food that’s unable to be reliably processed and distributed. Meanwhile, the Berkeley Student Food Collective has pioneered a student-run food waste recovery program that focuses on addressing food insecurity using a sustainable business model in a kitchen that’s too small to scale. Our Campus Kitchen and retail café will operate as the hub of a new paradigm for campus food: a volunteer-operated, student-run kitchen that would engage students in food education, community service, and food business.