Pixel Tracker

Thursday, February 21 , 2019, 10:46 pm | Fair 46º

 
 
 
 

CI ‘Idea to Impact’ Drought Challenge Inspires Nonprofit in Flint, Mich.

Philip Hampton

CSU Channel Islands countywide student brainstorming project on California’s drought has inspired a nonprofit group in Flint, Mich., to launch a student project of their own to address the future of Flint’s water safety. 

Idea to Impact is an online collaboration and career skills program created by a company called Northern Rift. Using this program, more than 550 Ventura County students from grades 6-12 learned about water and shared ideas on how to ease California’s drought. 

The student teams who made the most out of the collaborative project will receive awards at the Idea to Impact student challenge recognition event from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, 2016 in Malibu Hall, Room 100 on the CSUCI campus.

Idea to Impact has been around several years, sponsored by different organizations. CSUCI took over the program during the 2012-13 year under the direction of Professor of Chemistry Philip Hampton, Ph.D., director of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiatives.

In years past, students would work in teams to create a portfolio addressing some issue with energy or the environment, with the issue of the drought being the most recent.

“This year, we’ve taken a new approach, which is an online interactive portal which allows students to learn a topic, post ideas and collaborate with other students across grades, classrooms and district boundaries,” Hampton said.

High school and middle school students from around the county logged on to Northern Rift, posted more than 260 ideas and had more than 2,700 collaborations with everything from “great idea” to “what would this cost?” Students who logged in and contributed got creative.

“We should take small glaciers and smash them into pieces on whaling ships, bring them back and turn it into water,” read one submission.

“Wash your pets in your lawn so that you water your lawn and wash your pet at the same time,” said another.

“This might seem really weird, but you can actually save water by letting your lawn die and still have it perfectly green. How? Spray paint!” another said.

Some ideas were more doable than others, but the most important part was the collaborative process, according to Rob DePinto, founder and president of Northern Rift. DePinto stressed that CSUCI was on the leading edge of the future of education. 

“What we’re trying to do is solve real world problems in a real world environment where everybody’s connected,” DePinto said. “The era of textbook problem solving in silos is ending. Now it’s about real-world problem solving in collaborative environments.”

Flint has a real-world problem that has been all over the news in recent months: lead in the water.

Adam Hartley, M.P.A. and Ed.D., heads a nonprofit organization in Flint called GEARup2LEAD, which is dedicated to helping children and adults become “heroes” by creating positive change in the Flint community.

Through his educational and business contacts, he heard about CSUCI’s Idea to Impact challenge and thought the format would work well for Flint.

“What you’re doing in Ventura County is awesome,” Hartley said. “For Flint in Genesee County, I see this as a way for students from all economic backgrounds and all races to build upon one another’s ideas to create a better future for Flint.”

Hartley plans to use the Northern Rift collaborative process both to pull in students from high schools and the area universities and community colleges, including the University of Michigan in Flint, and encourage everyone to collaborate on what to do next after the water crisis in Flint is solved.

“We realize we have to take the next step and figure out how to create a better community with clean drinking water and health,” Hartley said. “Then we’ll move onto ideas about how to envision Flint 20 and 25 years from now.”

Hampton is pleased that leaders in Flint are inspired by CSUCI’s project, which was made possible by a grant from Alcoa Foundation as well as a partnership with Patagonia and a K-12 educational collaboration coordinated by Debby West, grant director for the Oxnard School District and educational partner with CSUCI for the K-12 school system.

“What’s exciting to me as an educator is that it opens up a pipeline for younger students to the University,” West said. “It connects them with something the University values, and that is collaboration.”

Kim Gregory is a communication specialist at CSU Channel Islands.

 

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.