ChangeMaker Kickoff: Making an Impact


The health and safety of students, faculty and staff remains UNC Charlotte’s top priority.The University has been monitoring the rapidly evolving situation around coronavirus (COVID-19) and has been working in close collaboration with local and state resources. After careful thought and consideration, we have decided to postpone March 17th's workshop, ChangeMaker Kickoff: Breaking Ground until the fall semester. This was not an easy decision, but a necessary one in protecting the health and well-being of our campus community.

Want to make an impact in your community? On campus? In North Carolina? Solutions to social issues are powered by people with passion and motivation- and we want to empower you to find and pursue that passion. We have designed a simple, fast-paced workshop and challenge to help UNC Charlotte students work on social solutions- ChangeMaker Kickoff: Making an Impact.

ChangeMaker Kickoff: Making an Impact Breaking Ground is a 4 hour workshop that gives ANY UNC Charlotte student the opportunity to present and work on their idea and how they would like to make an impact. During this workshop, students will be given a challenge in which teams work together and think innovatively on ways to solve a problem they have identified and present it to a panel at the end of the evening. Challenge Advantage: Each student will be given a list of problems the week before the challenge and you are able to look over the list and brainstorm possible ideas to bring to your group the following week. If you already have a problem you want to solve, you will be able to submit it in the application for approval. 

Let us know a little about you!

Register for more information Here

Postponed- but you're still able to prepare for the fall semester 

Thank you for your interest in ChangeMaker Kickoff: Breaking Ground. We are very excited about your interest in this event and look forward to working with you. We will keep you posted on the rescheduled date and plan for an exciting and challenging event where we will enable you to approach and solve social issues that you have identified. In the meantime, I wanted to give you a few resources/inspirations to check out at your own pace. 


1) There are a few TED Talks and a Netflix documentary about William Kamkwamba. “Enchanted by the workings of electricity as a boy, William had a goal to study science in Malawi’s top boarding schools. But in 2002, his country was stricken with a famine that left his family’s farm devastated and his parents destitute. Unable to pay the eighty-dollar-a-year tuition for his education, William was forced to drop out and help his family forage for food as thousands across the country starved and died. Yet William refused to let go of his dreams. With nothing more than a fistful of cornmeal in his stomach, a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks, and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to bring his family a set of luxuries that only two percent of Malawians could afford and what the West considers a necessity—electricity and running water.”


2) Food Insecurity and how some campuses, including UNC Charlotte, are working toward a solution.

One quarter of college students face hunger and food insecurity during their college careers, much higher than the national rate of 12%. Estimates at UNCC are 25%, though higher for graduate students.

Swipe Out Hunger: 

UNC Charlotte Swipe Out Hunger: 

Jamil Niner Food Pantry: 


3) SAROS Desalination (UNC Charlotte Graduates who continued with their  Engineering Senior Design Project and started a social entrepreneurial endeavor)


4) Our student team here at Ventureprise did some research and polls to develop a few topics. 


An example of impactful plastic pollution is polystyrene foam (the stuff most of us call Styrofoam), which never fully degrades. This material is harmful to wildlife and can eventually make its way into the food we eat. What are some creative ways we can decrease the use and disposal of polystyrene foam? Here’s more information about the issue- 

Improving quality of life:

a) Drug abuse- Worldwide, more than half of HIV–hepatitis C virus co-infections are in people who inject drugs. How can we decrease the amount of drug overdoses, contamination, and crimes related to drugs in the United States?

b) Health- 300,000 premature deaths a year in the United States can be attributed to obesity. How can we combat the effects of obesity in relation to health problems in urban areas?

Inequality and Discrimination

Housing Insecurity- Today, many Charlotte residents face a tradeoff in terms of where they live: They can live in more affordable housing near public transit and within a short commute to most jobs within Charlotte, or they can live in higher cost housing in areas with higher performing schools, lower poverty rates and less access to transit. How do we bridge the gap between these two different scenarios?


Frequently Asked Questions: 

Q: How do I sign up for the ChangeMaker Kickoff: Making an Impact?

 A.    Click here for the application. Once you have completed and submitted the application, you are automatically entered into the competition.

Q: Who is eligible for the ChangeMaker Kickoff: Making an Impact?

 A.    All UNC Charlotte students- any college, any major- all are welcome.  

Q: What types of issues will be addressed? Can I come with my own idea?

 A.    We've listed some possible issues above and we encourage you to bring your own idea! On the application we ask for your input. A week before the challenge, those that have completed the application will get an email with the three final topics. 

Q: Do I have to start a company if I win the competition?

 A.    There is no direct path to starting a company after the competition. We want to hear your ideas and work with you to get to the next level. Whether it is starting a student organization, implementing a campus program, or even international - this is the opportunity to launch your idea.

Q: I'm not an 'entrepreneur' so will I be competitive?

 A.    Absolutely! This is a changemaker challenge and we are wanting to help you with your ideas to make a difference. 

Q: What types of ideas are you looking for to enter the competition?

 A.    We have a few categories selected, but if you have identified a problem on campus, in your community, nationally or internationally- we want to hear what you are working on. There are no limits for our entries- we just want to know beforehand, so include it on your application. 


The health of our campus community is the highest priority for UNC Charlotte.This is a fast-moving and fluid situation. The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) continues to lead a cross-divisional team that is monitoring the situation locally and around the world. Visit the Emergency Management website to learn more. 


Laura Smailes and the Ventureprise Team