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UMD Advances Two Student-led Impact Projects to International U21 RISE Showcase

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This article was written by staff in the Office of International Affairs' Global Learning Initiatives and originally posted here.

The University of Maryland is proud to announce two student led-projects–Sustainabli and WISE Cities–as its representatives for this year’s Universitas21 (U21) RISE Showcase and Awards(link is external).

U21’s RISE (Real Impact on Society & Environment) is an international showcase of student sustainability and social innovation achievement. It is designed to accelerate the scale and impact of student-led projects by connecting them with a network of experts in academia and industry.

“It can be difficult to take a social enterprise or innovation idea beyond small-scale, local implementation, into something bigger,” U21 leaders wrote. “RISE helps students realize this goal for their projects by giving them access to a global audience of potential supporters.”

As UMD’s representatives, each student team will create a video to pitch their project to potential international collaborators, who will be invited to pledge their support for the project’s development via the U21 RISE website once the submissions are posted. U21 will review submissions from institutions across its international network and announce awards in June. Those selected projects will be eligible for additional funding and guidance.

RISE welcomed each member university to submit projects focused on global challenges, as outlined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. UMD is one of 28 members of the U21 network, which brings together research-intensive universities from six continents to share knowledge and perspectives. The Do Good Institute and Global Learning Initiatives hosted a campus-wide contest to select the UMD representatives for RISE.

As winners of the UMD contest, in addition to serving as UMD’s RISE representatives, these projects also each win $1,000 in total funding from the School of Public Policy’s Do Good Institute and the Office of International Affairs’ Global Learning Initiatives. More details on UMD’s representatives:

  • Sustainabli, run by a 6-student team and led by undergraduate biology and economics major Kevin Tu, aims to significantly reduce the energy waste and carbon footprint of laboratories by promoting more sustainable equipment use. Sustainabli targets the energy-consuming practice of leaving lab fume hoods, or sashes, open and on. The team created the first digital sash management platform and a sensor that reminds scientists to close sashes and provides real-time data on energy use, cost savings, and environmental impact. 
  • WISE Cities, run by a 15-student team and led by mathematics major Marie Brodsky, aims to connect socially isolated older adults with their communities and drive innovation that supports an aging population. The WISE Cities platform allows seniors to easily discover local groups and resources while removing the technological barrier by creating a comfortable and intuitive experience. Meanwhile, community centers, city departments, and businesses use the platform to share their services and activities. 

The Do Good Institute and GLI teams also recognize the following projects as Honorable Mentions in the UMD selection process:

  • Game Changers New York
  • Public Health Beyond Borders India Project 

Learn more about U21 RISE.

For Media Inquiries:
Kaitlin Ahmad
Communications Manager, DGI
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