Advancing Sustainable Solutions through Alumni Small Grants

The Stevens Initiative, in collaboration with IREX, is pleased to announce the third cohort of Alumni Small Grants recipients. The Stevens Initiative and IREX are excited to support young people after their virtual exchange by providing alumni with resources that they need to continue developing solutions to address today’s big challenges.

The Global Solutions Sustainability Challenge (GSSC), implemented by IREX, connects students in the United States, Jordan, and Iraq to virtually collaborate on a sustainable solution to a contemporary business challenge. Bi-national teams engage during a six to ten-week period to create a sustainable business solution to a challenge identified by industry partners across business sectors. At the conclusion of the GSSC, bi-national teams submit a video pitch and business plan for their prototype to the Virtual Global Business Expo where the top three finalists are selected by an advisory committee comprised of industry professionals and educators.

The top three teams selected during the expo are supported by this small grant effort to continue to develop their sustainable solution or to educate their communities about the power of virtual exchange. One of these winning teams will continue their grant projects collaboratively, sharing resources and implementing activities in both countries, while the other two teams decided to focus their efforts on the Iraqi community only. Read about this third cohort of grants below:

Project Name: Soran Eagles

  • Team: Soran University and Beaufort County Community College
  • Locations: Erbil, Iraq, and Beaufort, North Carolina
  • Brief Description: This binational project involves teams on both sides of the exchange working collaboratively to create and publish a children’s book about protecting our planet. Not only will the book entertain children while teaching important lessons, but the project will also work towards creating a curriculum to be used in school classrooms. The book will be written, illustrated, and published in both languages.

Project Name: Global Solutions Workshops

  • Team: Sulaimani Polytechnic University
  • Location: Sulaimani, Iraq
  • Brief Description: Members of this team will develop and implement four hands-on workshops to introduce the GSSC program, design thinking, and virtual exchange to the larger Sulaimani Polytechnic University community. Through these workshops, students and faculty members who have not participated in virtual exchange will see firsthand the positive outcomes and connections that can come from this transformative experience, increasing knowledge about and interest in virtual exchange participation.

Project Name: PolyHills Model

  • Team: Duhok Polytechnic University
  • Locations: Duhok, Iraq
  • Brief Description: The PolyHills team will continue to serve populations in need in their community in a sustainable way. Following the method proposed in their GSSC solution, the team will provide eco-friendly and recycled materials which can act as temporary shelter and protection for the refugee population in Duhok.

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