Skip to main content

Do Good Challenge Goes Virtual: Six Impactful Student-Led Teams Selected as Finalists

Back to All News
Do Good Challenge Virtual

The Do Good Institute is thrilled to announce the six finalists of this year’s Do Good Challenge. The student-led teams were selected from a highly competitive group of organizations who are taking action to address issues ranging from hunger to public health to tutoring and mentorship and more. For the first time ever, the Challenge is taking place as a series of virtual events throughout “Do Good Month” in April, culminating with the Do Good Challenge Awards Premiere on April 29.

With each challenge and barrier faced this last year, Terps thought critically, rose to the occasion, and proved to be changemakers. Students spent the year advocating, fundraising, volunteering, and developing solutions for pressing social issues. Meet our Finalist teams below!

Project-Track Finalists

  • Audelia Community Response Team (ACRT): a mutual aid group that provides food and other essential resources to those in need in Langley Park and the surrounding community, with a focus on immigrant and Latinx communities that face additional barriers to access resources. Since April 2020, ACRT has been consistently feeding 1,000+ families, raised $40,000; received donations of toys, food, household products; and helped schools with supply distribution and academic support. Student leaders include: 
    • Alexandra Melinchok '20, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences; International Studies, College Park Scholars
    • Oneyda Hernandez
  • Public Health Beyond Borders: a student-led organization consisting of more than 200 students from diverse majors with a mission to reduce health disparities in partner communities while attaining leadership skills and global awareness through a sustainable model of cross-cultural learning. Since the pandemic, the group maintained their support to partner sites abroad via virtual training and services; advocated for increased federal funding for communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 in tandem with the Fund for Global Health; and partnered on a town hall with U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen.  
    • Manasvinee Mayil Vahanan '21, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences
    • Sara Hatfield '21, School of Public Health
  • ROOTS Africa: a nonprofit organization that works with agriculture students in Africa and the U.S. to increase crop yields and socioeconomic conditions for farming communities in Africa. The team raised $20,000 to support 1,000 families to stay home and safe during the pandemic, trained more than 400 farmers, and has five university chapters working in six villages and three high schools in Uganda and Liberia.
    • Cedric Nwafor '21, School of Public Policy; '18 College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
    • Jeremy Schmidt '21, School of Public Policy

Venture-Track Finalists

  • Chat Health: a nonprofit organization that is bridging the gap between college students and medically-accurate health information through accessible SMS chatbots, which use artificial intelligence to mimic human conversation. More than 4,000 students have used their chat services, managed by 40 volunteers, and the organization has signed an MOU with the University Health Center for sustained partnership and support.  
    • Jesse Anderson '22, College of Information Studies
    • Veeraj Shah '21, School of Public Health
  • Corona Connects: an online platform that helps anyone nationwide find a volunteer opportunity, whether you are in high school, college or a professional looking to volunteer individually or as a group. More than 13,000 volunteers explored hundreds of opportunities from 300 different organizations across the U.S., with at least 6,000 volunteer connections made. This effort has been featured in more than 45 news outlets including US News & World Report and the Washington Post, and received international attention. 
    • ​​​​​​​Elana Sichel '21, Robert H. Smith School of Business; Media Self & Society, College Park Scholars
    • Hadassah Rask, University of Pennsylvania
  • STEPS (Student Teachers Enriching Proficiency Through Service): a nonprofit that connects volunteers with K-12 families seeking personalized, one-on-one, long-term, and affordable tutoring and college advising services, while donating nearly 100 percent of profits in the form of grants and scholarships to support low-income youth and other nonprofits. Their model has attracted 40 volunteer tutors, a growing paying client base, and has generated $15,000 in revenue to date. STEPS’ first grant of $2,500 provided free tutoring to 100 students in Baltimore area programs.
    • ​​​​​​​Sanketh Andhavarapu '23, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences; University Honors
    • Uzair Chaudhary '23, A. James Clark School of Engineering

Each Thursday in April, we will release updates, details on how to vote for your favorite team, finalist video pitches, virtual judge Q&As, giveaways, and other insider-looks at student impact. On April 29, tune-in live for our Do Good Challenge Awards Premiere, vote for your favorite teams, and enjoy a night of fun and celebration to see which teams take home the top prizes!

Judges 

  • Rosie Allen-Herring, President and CEO, United Way of the National Capital Area
  • Michelle Gilliard, Director, US Education and Workforce Development, FHI360
  • Nicky Goren, President and CEO, Meyer Foundation 
  • Kahlil Kettering, Urban Conservation Director, The Nature Conservancy
  • Paul Monteiro, Chief of Staff and Assistant Vice President of External Affairs, Howard University
  • Lily Trager, Director of Investing with Impact and Head of Impact Solutions, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

Do Good Challenge Event Dates

  • April 1, 2021: Do Good Challenge Kick-Off
  • April 8, 2021: Finalist Pitches and Q&As 
  • April 15, 2021: Final Day for Audience Voting
  • April 29, 2021: Do Good Challenge Awards Premiere

The Do Good Institute and it’s Do Good Challenge is made possible by the support and commitment of our dedicated partners, donors, and community. We'd like to especially thank Morgan Stanley for their decade-long support of the Do Good Challenge.

2021 Do Good Challenge Sponsors and Partners 

  • Gold-Level Sponsor: Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, The Rothschild Foundations
  • Red-Level Sponsor: CTIA Wireless Foundation
  • Black-Level Sponsor: The Center for Engineering Concepts Development, University of Maryland
  • White-Level Sponsors: The Richard  E. & Nancy P. Marriott Foundation

Want to stay in the loop with all things Virtual Do Good Challenge? We’ll be sending out regular updates and reminders, and you’ll be the first to know when new videos are released! Sign-up for our new Challenge Newsletter and follow us on social @DoGoodatUMD.

Newsletter Sign-Up

For Media Inquiries:
Kaitlin Ahmad
Communications Manager, DGI
For More from the School of Public Policy:
Sign up for SPP News