CSM stu­dents win $1,500 grant for Farm­ing 4 Hunger

Sec­ond So­cial En­trepreneur­ship Chal­lenge pairs class with or­ga­ni­za­tions

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com

The Bene­dict-based non­profit Farm­ing 4 Hunger has re­ceived a $1,500 award, thanks to the hard work and en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit of two Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land stu­dents.

Kae­lyn Ching of Me­chan­icsville and Jor­dan John­son of Wal­dorf were the first-place win­ners of CSM’s Sec­ond An­nual So­cial En­trepreneur­ship Chal­lenge, held Thurs­day, for the devel­op­ment of a youth out­reach pro­gram, beat­ing out pro­pos­als by five other teams.

“They re­ally took on the role of work­ing with Farm­ing 4 Hunger and started go­ing to the farm,” said Thomas Lug­in­bill, di­rec­tor of CSM’s En­tre­pre­neur and In­no­va­tion In­sti­tute.

Com­ing in sec­ond place were Jeremy For­ris, Caryn Fos­sile and Jor­don Gandee, for their pro­posal for South­ern Mary­land Com­mu­nity Re­sources, a Solomons-based non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that works to pro­vide in­clu­sive op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­di­vid­u­als with de­vel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties in St. Mary’s County. For sec­ond place, the team won a $500 grant for SMCR.

The prize grants were paid for by the Neilom Foun­da­tion, which spon­sored the event, along with the Cen­ter for En­gi­neer­ing Con­cepts Devel­op­ment at the Univer­sity of Mary­land Col­lege Park. The Neilom Foun­da­tion was founded by Pro­fes­sor Davin­der Anand.

“They ac­tu­ally spon­sored this en­tire

class; they paid for tu­ition, they paid for fees, and they do­nated the prize money,” Lug­in­bill said.

Last year, CSM Pro­fes­sor Mary Beth Klinger worked with the Neilom Foun­da­tion to de­velop an en­trepreneur­ship chal­lenge for business ad­min­is­tra­tion stu­dents.

“Dr. Anand re­ally liked what was go­ing on, and said, ‘I want to do this again,’” Lug­in­bill said.

That led to the devel­op­ment of a se­mes­ter-long class in so­cial en­trepreneur­ship, taught this year by Lug­in­bill.

Stu­dents in the so­cial en­trepreneur­ship class di­vided into teams of two or three and worked with lo­cal non­prof­its and so­cially in­vested busi­nesses which had vol­un­teered to par­tic­i­pate in the class, Lug­in­bill said.

“Ev­ery or­ga­ni­za­tion that is a part of this class has a so­cial mission, and that is to do good in the com­mu­nity,” Lug­in­bill said.

The stu­dents spent the se­mes­ter learn­ing about the or­ga­ni­za­tion they were work­ing with and de­vel­op­ing a fund­ing pro­posal.

“I threw them [the stu­dents] at the or­ga­ni­za­tions, and told them, ‘Start fig­ur­ing out what’s good, start fig­ur­ing out what’s bad, and see if there’s any­thing you can do to help them. Moreso, see if there’s any­thing you can do to help them grow,’” Lug­in­bill said.

For their fi­nal project in the class, the stu­dents pitched their pro­pos­als to a panel of five judges, in­clud­ing fac­ulty from CSM and the Univer­sity of Mary­land.

Pro­pos­als were judged on a 50-point scale based on five cat­e­gories: defin­ing the prob­lem, the so­lu­tion to the prob­lem, im­pact of the so­lu­tion sug­gested, fea­si­bil­ity of im­ple­men­ta­tion and over­all pre­sen­ta­tion, Lug­in­bill said.

Farm­ing 4 Hunger grows veg­eta­bles to be do­nated to lo­cal food banks with work-re­lease and re­cently re­leased in­mates com­pris­ing part of their work­force. The farm also does com­mu­nity and school out­reach pro­grams with the goal of ed­u­cat­ing the pub­lic about drug ad­dic­tion and pre­vent­ing re­cidi­vism by help­ing for­mer in­mates form con­nec­tions to the com­mu­nity.

John­son said she and Ching vis­ited Farm­ing 4 Hunger weekly, and got to know the in­mates and oth­ers who worked on the farm.

“We got every­thing from our ex­pe­ri­ences there, how we feel it’s im­pacted the com­mu­nity, and we feel it’s ben­e­fi­cial,” John­son said. “It’s one thing to work with your non­profit, it’s an­other thing to be pas­sion­ate about it. I re­ally be­lieve in their cause, so that ac­tu­ally helped us in how we made our pre­sen­ta­tion.”

Ching said she was fairly con­fi­dent in their pre­sen­ta­tion, but the other pre­sen­ta­tions made her ner­vous.

“We knew we had a lot of good com­pe­ti­tion, so I was prob­a­bly more ner­vous af­ter­wards than I was go­ing up and pre­sent­ing,” Ching said.

Bernie Fowler Jr., founder of Farm­ing 4 Hunger, said the two stu­dents put in a lot of hard work and ded­i­ca­tion.

“They bring some great as­sis­tance, and some re­ally great ideas,” Fowler said. “I’m re­ally ex­cited, even more, with the pre­sen­ta­tion and the class end­ing, with their en­gage­ment, that they want to con­tinue to work with our pro­gram af­ter­ward and en­gage with our non­profit dur­ing the sum­mer.”

Other or­ga­ni­za­tions par­tic­i­pat­ing were Cir­cle of An­gels Ini­tia­tive, a Friend­ship-based or­ga­ni­za­tion to elim­i­nated poverty and re­duce risky be­hav­iors; Dig­i­touch, a Hol­ly­wood non­profit tech­nol­ogy firm work­ing to de­velop pros­thetic fin­gers for am­putees with a fo­cus on vet­er­ans; Kids Into Dis­cov­er­ing Science, an Ac­co­keek non­profit fo­cused on science and tech­nol­ogy for youth, with a par­tic­u­lar em­pha­sis on build­ing per­sonal sub­marines to en­ter the In­ter­na­tional Sub­ma­rine Races; and VCon­nec­tions, a White Plains non­profit group con­nect­ing vet­er­ans in South­ern Mary­land with re­sources.

Two of the stu­dents have been hired by the or­ga­ni­za­tions they were work­ing with, Lug­in­bill said.

Lug­in­bill said the de­ci­sion was a dif­fi­cult one for the judges, and all the pre­sen­ta­tions were ex­cel­lent.

“These stu­dents have gone way out of their way on all of these projects,” Lug­in­bill said.

CSM Pres­i­dent Brad Got­tfried com­mended all of the stu­dents for their work.

“It’s the stu­dents that make our col­lege spe­cial,” Got­tfried said. “I loved the team­work the you could see; I loved the crit­i­cal think­ing and the pas­sion.”

STAFF PHOTO BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU

In front from left, Jer­mey For­ris, Caryn Fos­sile and Jor­don Gandee, sec­ond place win­ners for South­ern Mary­land Com­mu­nity Re­sources, and Jor­dan John­son and Kae­lyn Ching, first place win­ners for Farm­ing 4 Hunger, along with, in back from left, Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land Pres­i­dent Bradley Got­tfried, Dy­lan Hazel­wood, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter for En­gi­neer­ing Con­cepts Devel­op­ment at the Univer­sity of Mary­land Col­lege Park, Davin­deer Anand, CECD di­rec­tor and founder of the Neil­som Foun­da­tion, and CSM pro­fes­sor Thomas Lug­in­bill, at the sec­ond an­nual So­cial En­trepreneur­ship Chal­lenge Thurs­day.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU

Judges in­clud­ing, from left, Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land pro­fes­sor Ber­nice Brez­ina, CSM com­mu­nity re­la­tions co­or­di­na­tor Larisa Pfeif­fer, Dy­lan Hazel­wood, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor for the Cen­ter for En­gi­neer­ing Con­cepts Devel­op­ment at the Univer­sity of Mary­land Col­lege Park, and CSM vice pres­i­dent of aca­demic af­fairs Eileen Abel tally scores dur­ing the sec­ond an­nual So­cial En­trepreneur­ship Chal­lenge Thurs­day evening.

Jor­dan John­son of Wal­dorf makes the case to judges for Farm­ing 4 Hunger dur­ing the sec­ond an­nual So­cial En­trepreneur­ship Chal­lenge at the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land Thurs­day evening.

Kae­lyn Ching of Me­chan­icsville pitches an out­reach pro­gram for Farm­ing 4 Hunger to judges dur­ing the Sec­ond An­nual So­cial En­trepreneur­ship Chal­lenge at the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land Thurs­day evening.

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