Ekialo Kiona Youth Radio Initiative


EKR is Africa’s first wind- and solar-powered radio station, reaching 200,000 listeners across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania within the first year of broadcasting. In 2014-15, the second full year of station operations, EKR intends to “scale-up” the programming by integrating interactive radio technology, starting a Creative Expression for Youth Initiative and expanding community engagement efforts. By scaling the youth-led platform to engage more listeners into EKR’s programming, OHR intends to have significant impact in communities along the shores of Lake Victoria. Among EKR’s goals are: 1.Provide youth with a pathway to sustainable employment; 2. Expand ICT services for secondary school youth; 3. Create networking opportunities for young people to build mentorships with ICT experts; 4. Slow the degradation of traditional knowledge by using radio broadcast and social media create dialogue about the Suba culture; 5. Inspire excitement of technological literacy and its links to creative expression through broadcasting student-produced audio projects across Lake Victoria.

Near Zero: Mechanical Flywheel Battery


The Near Zero flywheel battery consists of a magnetically-levitated flywheel, combined with a motor, that can store and output energy like a traditional electrochemical cell. However, this design has almost no frictional losses, uses very little power in the magnetic levitation of the flywheel, and combined with high efficiency electronics, drastically outperforms chemical batteries in many ways. This flywheel battery is envisioned to replace inefficient and environmentally unsound use of “peaker plants” – power plants that only run when there is high demand for electricity.

Inserting Innovation into Vision: UC Vision Project in Cambodia

The project will deliver vision correction to the poor in Cambodia, using self-adjustable glasses that allow the user to self-diagnose their own prescription. Once individuals determine their own prescriptions, they will be able to choose from standardized eyeglasses that fit a range of prescriptions. This approach allows a reduction in the cost of vision correction in several ways: first, it bypasses the high cost of customized prescriptions by using self-adjustable eyeglasses to diagnose and standardized eyeglasses to wear. Second, standardized eyeglasses allow customers to exchange or return the eyeglasses if they are not satisfied, which is impossible with customized eyeglasses. Third, by applying self-refraction technology and standardized eyeglasses for vision correction, an affordable eyeglasses supply chain can be established with the end price to the consumer being as low as $2.50 USD. Finally, since the process itself of self-diagnosis allows people to experience better vision first-hand even before purchasing, the self-refraction approach can increase their willingness to pay for vision correction compared to the conventional approaches, which merely allow for the optometrist to diagnose without the patient actually experiencing better vision.

Extending a Helping Hand as Volunteer Tax Preparers


In 2010, VITA@Berkeley, under the “Social Resources for a Healthy Community” project, successfully established its year-long program to assist students, community members, and community tax partners in collaborating around an effort to alleviate poverty through tax preparation. As a result, they helped secure $600,000 in tax refunds and credits to East Bay residents. “Extending a Helping Hand as Volunteer Tax Preparers” is an extension of this original project, with the added focus of targeting rural poverty areas outside the East Bay, such the Central Valley Region. In this project, Chu and Lam will partner with an existing financial service clinic, where volunteers can prepare taxes for local residents in a week-long service-learning opportunity, and enable them to dramatically scale up their service delivery. This project will further immerse students in the issues of poverty, and specifically rural poverty beyond the East Bay.



GoodWheels will be a UC Berkeley student-run market where students can buy used bikes. Beginning in summer, they will offer a location for students to buy bikes at a lower cost and in a safer manner than they would be able to buy used bikes from strangers online. Student’s purchases from GoodWheels will have a social impact because all profits from bike sales will go to supporting CA Bikes in their work constructing and donating custom bikes to orphans and paraplegics in Uganda.

Fruitful Minds, Stage Two: Crossing County Lines

Fruitful_Minds_Big Ideas 2011 (79)_JPG

Fruitful Minds is determined to address the obesity epidemic by bringing nutrition education and guidance to students in elementary, middle, and high school. Operating the educational programs will also provide practical experience for college student ambassadors. In Stage One, they operated through one college (UC Berkeley) and served 10 local schools from 2010-2012. In Stage Two, they will be expanding to 12 schools (including 2 high schools), introduce a condensed curriculum for two new primary schools, and will partner with Saint Mary’s College outside of Alameda County. The ultimate goal of Fruitful Minds is to support partnerships nationwide and provide their unique program to any school with access to the college volunteers and resources necessary to replicate their model.

Berkeley City College Service Community

The Berkeley City College Service Community (BCCSC) is a student-led program that assists community college students with the transfer process, provides them with enhanced leadership and service opportunities, and connects them to resources that will help them achieve their education and personal goals.

Bare Abundance

Big Ideas Award Celebration, May 2012Photo Credit: Blum Center

Studies demonstrate a strong correlation between overall scarcity of nutritious food in low-income communities and high obesity rates and other health-related problems. BareAbundance strives to reduce the amount of waste generated from excess food by utilizing this excess in nourishment for the marginalized children in West Oakland. The team aims to combat this marginalization by creating an educational environment and stable local food community to foster healthy minds and bodies. By involving Cal students, the team plans to enable communities with poor access to nutritious food to get involved by supporting existing food distribution programs and educating children in these communities about food and nutrition. Cal students will teach a nutrition-education class series to West Oakland youth. Students from a wide range of disciplines will learn about, discuss, critique, and participate in the local food justice movement. The course provides the foundation that will review the BareAbundance curriculum, teaching strategies, program evaluation tools, and youth engagement.