IMPACT Awardees Ready to Launch

from Team JuaBar IMPACT 2012 project proposal

Within the next few weeks, the three teams of CCA students who won IMPACT Social Entrepreneurship Awards will be heading to Alaska, Tanzania, and Mexico to attempt innovative social transformations. Bolstered by the support of their $10,000 IMPACT grants and their community partner organizations, the teams -- KVAK TV, JuaBar, and 20/20 FOTO -- will work to empower three different communities to address pressing local concerns. Each team brings together a mix of graduate and undergraduate students from different academic programs.

IMPACT is one of the anchor programs at CCA's Center for Art and Public Life, providing students with opportunities to build relationships for social change. It is about innovation, community, collaboration, and making. It celebrates the entrepreneurial drive of CCA students combined with their desire to create a tangible, positive influence within a specific community.

Student Team KVAK TV

The KVAK TV team is Jesus Landin-Torrez (MFA), Teresa Baker (MFA), Steve Sanchez (Furniture, and Floris Schonfeld (MFA).

In rural Kivalina, Alaska (population 440), 60 percent of the residents are under the age of 25. They are faced with geographic isolation, staggering unemployment rates, and imminent relocation due to rising sea levels. They also find themselves confronting the dilemma of situating their identities with respect to the traditions of their tribe (90 percent of the village is ethnically Inupiaq) and the global youth community.

Says Baker, "Our project challenges the youth of Kivalina to redefine what their heritage means to them. It is an alternative platform to voice their ideas."

In August, the student team will partner with Alaska Design Forum to empower a council of Kivalina youth to create three episodes of a live-performance television show. The show will serve as a platform for conversations about isolation, location, and cultural shift. It will air on Alaskan public television and be exhibited as part of the True North exhibition and symposium, which runs through September 9 at the Anchorage Museum.

To ensure that the dialogue they create will be ongoing, the team will leave equipment and funds with the youth council after they depart.

Watch the awards presentation »

Student Team JuaBar

JuaBar (jua means "sun" in Swahili) grew out of the Social Ventures course offered by the MBA in Design Strategy program in summer 2011. The team is Olivia Nava (MBA in Design Strategy), Rachel Gant (Industrial Design), and Sachi DeCou (MBA in Design Strategy).

Of the 28 million Tanzanians who are mobile phone subscribers, only 10 percent have access to electricity. They may spend 25 percent of their monthly income and several hours each week commuting to charge their phones. Furthermore, the popular fuel source -- kerosene -- is a health and environmental hazard.

From mid-July to mid-August, JuaBar will be in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, working to create a mobile solar station as "a place for communities to interact with, learn about, and create their own solar energy solutions." As their community partner, JuaBar chose the Appropriate Rural Technology Institute (ARTI), whose mission is to disseminate and apply knowledge about sustainable technology.

JuaBar will train local solar entrepreneurs and interact with the community to increase trust, awareness, and accessibility regarding solar products. With the understanding that the new mobile charging station is a prototype, JuaBar will adapt it depending on what they discover about the specific location and social context. They will also develop a solar energy curriculum and business operations plan, allowing ARTI to continue its work after their departure.

Watch the awards presentation »

Student Team 20/20 FOTO

20/20 FOTO is Roberto Gomez (MFA and MA Visual and Critical Studies), Heidi Lubin (MFA), Neil Rivas (MFA), Maria Alzatin Nunez (Sculpture), and Claudia Marquez (Photography).

20/20 FOTO will be one of the first institutional cross-border art programs between Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, since the recent period of regional violence began in 2008. (These two cities face each other directly across the U.S.-Mexico border.)

The team reports that there are 10,000 orphans in Ciudad Juarez and 30,000 undocumented youth in El Paso. Using photography as a strategy, 20/20 FOTO hopes to help these children defy the labels placed upon them and assert themselves as individuals. Gomez observes, "We look past these social situations to the youth as empowered individuals -- unique people with resilience and incredible stories to tell."

In late July, partnering with Creative Kids in El Paso and Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa in Juarez, the team will lead 40 youth (20 from each side of the border) in themed workshops that will teach them skills related to storytelling and photography techniques. In the latter half of their month-long project, 20/20 FOTO will host a cross-border installation and two exhibitions. Evaluation will take place through blog and journal entries, participant interviews, community events, and visibility in local and national media outlets.

20/20 FOTO wants the project to be replicated yearly, and so the team will leave a library of 20 digital cameras with Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa. They will train local student leaders to be peer educators, develop a year-round photography curriculum, and form partnerships within the press.

Watch the awards presentation »

Growing Excitement About IMPACT

The IMPACT Social Entrepreneurship Awards, now in its second year, is one of the core initiatives of CCA's Center for Art and Public Life. The awards give multiple $10,000 awards each year to interdisciplinary teams of students, enabling them to undertake a major project over the summer, anywhere in the world. The awards encourage collaboration across all disciplines and skill sets. The rigorous application process requires that each team identify a need in a specific community, then formulate a plan to address that need in an innovative way -- in other words, to articulate their intended impact. To inform and endorse their work, each team names a specific outside organization to serve as a community partner.

In spring 2012, the IMPACT applicants included students hailing from 19 different CCA programs (out of 28 programs in total). The finalists included Grove Reaction, which proposed to work with high school students on mangrove conservation in south Florida; BrightLab, focusing on mobile learning alternatives for public school students in San Francisco; and KIDMob, a proposed design-build workshop for middle school students in the small Northern California town of Greenville.

Learn More About IMPACT and Apply in 2013

CCA students interested in learning more about the IMPACT Social Entrepreneurship Awards should attend this year's final IMPACT team presentations in September 2012 and come to one of the Center's hosted information and networking sessions, which will start in October 2012. Applications will be due in early spring 2013 for projects that will take place in summer 2013. (The Center will email a schedule of upcoming info sessions to all currently enrolled CCA students.)

Get more information and updates on the IMPACT blog ( and the Center’s Twitter feed (@CCA_Center).