Simmons World Challenge: Students spend winter break solving world problems
This year, during winter break, 33 students from 17 different majors spent their winter break on campus developing solutions to empower women living in poverty. This year's theme was "At the Edge of Poverty: Empowering Women to Change Their Lives and Their Worlds." Students were grouped into nine teams and worked for two straight weeks on their local responses to this global issue.
The teams were able to envision and execute a variety of solutions that ranged from mentorships to video and advertising campaigns, demonstrating what dedicated women can do when they work together to focus on doing good for their communities.
The two weeks began with workshops and brainstorming sessions. Each team presented their ideas to other teams and faculty advisors, advice was given, and they set out to shape their ideas into actionable plans. After weeks in the library, researching, writing, building, and editing, the teams presented their final solutions.
Team 1: De-stigmatizing poverty workshop for children.
A 6-week course that talks to children, openly and honestly, about poverty with the goal of de-stigmaztizing their perceptions and assumptions of poverty. The team developed a curriculum for teaching students that poverty has no face and anyone with the drive and willingness can rise out of poverty.
Team 2: Students 4 Success
Students 4 Success is a full-day college workshop for high school girls in their junior year. The team developed a full day curriculum in which students are encouraged to apply to college. They receive help with the common application and practice college interviewing and essay writing skills.
Team 3: After school programming
The team put together a policy brief focused on under performing schools in underserved communities in Boston. The brief includes plans for extended learning hours, after school programs, and mentorships.
Team 4: Corporate Social Responsibility Advertising Campaign
The team created an ad campaign targeted at major businesses to encourage them and their employees to volunteer their time with non-profit organizations around Boston. The team created an inspirational video along with an information packet to be sent to human resources departments at Boston largest corporations.
Team 5: Nutritional Action Plan
A plan to promote nutrition through mothers and children living in Dorchester, MA. Mothers cooking for mothers encourages mothers in the area to create and submit their own recipes, while Children Leading Change asks children in the local school systems to keep a diary of their daily meals.
Team 6: Cookbook for women receiving aid from WIC and SNAP
The team created a cookbook with recipes and foods that women receiving aid from WIC (Women Infants and Children) and SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) could purchase with their aid, as well as, a newsletter with important health information that is to be distributed at local Stop and Shop grocery stores.
Team 7: A look at STI's and teen pregnancies
The team created a video and interviewed a social worker to start the conversation and raise awareness around these issues. They hope to have an event where the Simmons community will come together to discuss and bring awareness to the disparity in sexual education that occurs in local schools.
Team 8: Help for homeless LBGTQ youth
The team built a website to spread awareness about the specific needs of homeless LGBTQ youth and created a pamphlet with a list of resources for this population to be handed out at local shelters.
Team 9: Women's Health Awareness
The team created a video to raise awareness about the resources that currently exist for women who are pregnant or have experienced sexual violence. They created large posters that would be hung up at bus stops around the city directing women to these resources.
The Simmons College World Challenge is a pilot program that takes place over the winter break, aimed at providing a model for interdisciplinary and interactive teaching and learning for students from all majors around the College. Students come together to pull knowledge from their various areas of studies to create solutions to a global issue. Professors ranging in expertise from management to social work, act as faculty advisors for each team as they execute their solutions. Last year students came together to create a solution around solving world hunger through local, sustainable food initiatives.