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ASU students take ideas to innovation pitch competition

February 06, 2015

Three Arizona State University students committed to making a positive social impact have been selected to participate as finalists in the Social Venture Partners Fast Pitch Competition on March 4 at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

The competition is a high-energy, rapid-fire presentation event where students will have an opportunity to share the mission, vision and impact of their innovative idea with an audience and judges.

The student teams were selected through an exclusive opportunity for ASU Innovation Challenge applicants. Changemaker Challenge is an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students from across the university to make a difference in local and global communities through innovation.

Team leaders Rebecca Dangler, Chris Reina and Courtney Van Bussum will participate in a rigorous pitch training development program, culminating in the selection of one team to win $2,000 and to present at the Fast Pitch Competition event in March.

The ASU selected teams are:

FitStart Kids – Courtney Van Bussum, team leader
FitStart Kids is a health mentorship program for overweight youth that focuses on utilizing a combination of technology and personalized mentorship to promote a healthier lifestyle for children. This program is aimed at high-risk youth who have serious health problems or who are at risk to develop them because of their weight.

HEROES for Students – Chris Reina, team leader
HEROES For Students is an online platform to connect and provide guest speakers for K-12 teachers who want a turnkey solution to expose their students to a diversity of careers, engage students in their academic content and empower students to set and reach ambitious goals. Unlike mentoring programs for youth, such as Junior Achievement or Big Brothers Big Sisters (which seek to create long-term and/or one-on-one relationships between community members and students), HEROES for Students provides much-needed, in-classroom experts and professionals to share experiences and lessons from their field. HEROES for Students fills a need for exposure and guidance to help students explore a diversity of careers. This team won $1,500 at ASU’s Innovation Challenge in 2014 and was selected to attend Clinton Global Initiative University.

The Student Art Project – Rebecca Dangler, team leader
The Student Art Project is an online gallery retailing a curated collection of student artwork. A portion of the proceeds will fund the artists’ education through tuition and book costs, study abroad fees, etc. The team hopes to address the lack of funding and scholarship opportunities in fine arts education by providing an alternative route to financial empowerment for student artists.

"Being able to present our whole organization, FitStart Kids, in three minutes, include all the necessary components and do so in an interesting and impactful way has been a challenge, but it is a fun challenge that I am embracing," said Courtney Van Bussum.

Chris Reina, team lead for HEROES for students has also applied to attend Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), hosted by the University of Miami, March 6-8. CGI U is an annual event that brings together students and world leaders to address global challenges with practical, innovative solutions.

"We are delighted to be part of the Social Venture Partners Fast Pitch Competition," said Christopher Reina. "This exposure helps students understand the connections of how to use what we are learning now and apply it to our future careers."

Tickets for the March 4 event at Tempe Center for the Arts can be purchased online.