Aggie team reaches semifinals of social entrepreneur competition

Gaming to Give Back

See a pdf of the Aggie team's entry

A team from Texas A&M reached the semifinal round of a worldwide competition seeking university students' ideas to solve social and environmental problems.

Their idea for the contest, the Dell Social Innovation Competition, involved kids trading points they’d earned playing video games for donations to charitable causes.

Texas A&M was a university partner in the competition, one of 100 higher education institutions selected by Dell as leaders in teaching social entrepreneurship and supporting student entrepreneurs.

“100,000 points could provide a family in Africa with drinking water for a day,” said the proposal from the students, Lexi Crommett, Rachel Duran, Alicia Garza, James Havlock, Josh Penniman and Niall Reed. “The program will include many different charities, and children can choose which charity they want to allocate points to based on their personal interests.”

25,000 points, said the proposal, might buy lunch on a weekend for a child who receives subsidized school lunches during the week, and 500,000 points could buy an instrument for a school’s under-funded music program.

Funds for the effort would come from advertising on the site.

Children would receive a badge on their profile site for every charitable achievement they earned, not only for bragging rights, but also to remind them of the good they are doing, said the team’s entry.

A panel of leaders in academia, business, government, the nonprofit sector and online voters selected the Aggie entry as one of the semifinalists.

To see the student entry, “Gaming to Give Back,” visit the Dell Social Innovation website.

posted April 7, 2011