Taylor Student Showcase Celebrates Changemaker Institute Alumni & Awards Students Over $50,000

Taylor Student Showcase

An equipment-share lending library for STEM classroom supplies that provides teachers with resources to safely and effectively implement hands-on learning.

An accessible, comprehensive, unbiased and free voter’s guide covering all local New Orleans elections

A game product that promotes education and self-awareness through focusing on under-recognized yet influential African Americans in history

The ideas above are just three of twelve unique social ventures pitched at the Taylor Student Showcase on Wednesday evening, a culminating night for students graduating from Taylor’s Changemaker Institute (CI) social venture accelerator. As part of the Showcase, Taylor also awarded over $50,000 in funding to 30 Tulane undergraduate and graduate students via the Changemaker Catalyst Award (funding to engage in diverse experiential learning opportunities), The Alvarez Spark Innovation Award (funding to prototype or test innovative ideas), and the NewDay Challenge (seed funding to launch social ventures).

Live pitches from CI graduates (ranging from freshman to a PhD student) at the Showcase spanned fields of education reform, civic engagement, food justice, urban sustainability, and healthcare. Audience members got to choose 3 of `12 presentations to attend, with 4 presentations happening simultaneously in the ballroom. Time was set aside for lively Q+A before audience members rotated to the next presentation of their choice. During the presentations, students shared their learning and growth throughout CI, a social venture accelerator that equips students with the entrepreneurial skills to hone their social venture ideas and develop a roadmap to transform their ideas into an ethical, sustainable, scalable solutions.

During the pitches, audience members were encouraged to provide feedback on sticky notes that were later hung up large “Feedback Capture Grids” on the walls, one per venture, with four quadrants representing elements one liked or found notable, constructive criticism, questions, and ideas moving forward.

A unique accelerator program, CI focuses not only on launching successful ventures, but on equipping students with the tools to more deeply understand the challenges they are addressing and become more aware of local partners, champions, and allies tackling those same challenges, thereby developing community partnerships and building “intrapreneurial” capacity while honestly assessing if their venture is needed or wanted by the community, or already exists in another form. CI thereby measures it success not only in launching successful ventures, but also in the journey of learning, failing, iterating, and joining forces with other local change agents.

Tulane is honored as an Ashoka U “Changemaker Campus,” and as CI graduates completed their pitches and 30 students spanning multiple disciplines and schools received their awards, the full stage of student changemakers was a powerful reminder of how Tulane students’ collective energy, passion and drive is creating positive change on our campus and in our local and global community.