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Igniting impact and inspiring innovation: Change the World 2024 crowns category winners


Photo of the stage and crowd at this year's Change the World competition.

Change the World is an exhibition at ASU that asks the fundamental question: "How can I change the world?" Students answered that question at this year's event at Mountain America Stadium in Tempe through art, pitches, performances and exhibits. Photo by Tommy Padden/Student Life

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March 29, 2024

Smoke filtered through purple and yellow lights as they flashed overhead. Voices echoed off the walls at Mountain America Stadium. And a crowd full of Sun Devils, some in suits they wore to pitch their innovative ideas, gathered in anticipation to hear the announcement of the winners of Change the World 2024. 

Change the World is an exhibition offered at Arizona State University that asks the fundamental question: "How can I change the world?" It encourages students to use their unique talents to present solutions for global problems, fostering an environment of creativity and selflessness. 

This year's participants could engage in four primary competition categories: art, pitch, performance or exhibit.

Cooper Waters, a third-year student studying sports business in the W. P. Carey School of Business, attended the event with his father. They stood behind a vibrantly decorated table, eager to speak with judges or passing students about Only 7 Seconds, a nonprofit organization that addresses youth loneliness.

“Change the World is perfect for our mission,” Waters said of his decision to participate in the exhibition. “I’ve had my tough times. I’ve had plenty of friends who are going through tough times and benefited from someone reaching out to them. This is the perfect event to come to, especially at ASU, if you have a message you want to spread with lots of people.” 

Not only does Change the World encourage scientific and professional solutions, but it also fosters an environment of change that leans into mediums of art as powerful forces. 

One of the many art exhibits came from the creative mind of Uzoma Ndulue, a master’s student studying industrial design at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Her collection was announced as the first-place winner on the main stage at the end of the night. 

“These are different paintings that I have done throughout the years,” Ndulue said. “The main, overarching message, which is also my philosophy and goal as a creative, is to balance the narrative of Africa. I feel like for the longest time, we haven’t had control of our narrative. It’s always been someone else telling our story.” 

The paintings Ndulue displayed at Change the World were deep and moving, ranging from big canvases to smaller pieces. Her mission to celebrate people and culture drew in crowds. 

“Being from Nigeria, creativity isn’t something that is encouraged,” Ndulue said. “The typical jobs, like engineering, lawyers, doctors ... all of those things are what your parents would push you to do. But I feel like with the problems we have, you need someone that can think outside of the box.” 

Change the World also offered the perfect opportunity for student organizations to showcase their impact on campus. One of these student groups, She’s the First, spoke with passing students about its change-making initiatives at ASU. 

Erin Florance, a sophomore studying film and media studies through The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, spoke about the club’s impact.  

“Our mission is to support women in the Global South, mainly by providing education,” Florance said. “We host biweekly meetings where a member of the club will bring a topic that they want to discuss. In the past, we’ve covered women’s education, women’s health care, child marriage, intersectional feminism and more.” 

The Change the World 2024 winners are:

Pitch category: 

  • First place: Malaria Prevention Kits.
  • Second place: Carbon Summit – Sustainability Hub.
  • Third place: EcoFurnish.

Art category:

  • First place: Uzoma Ndulue, for "Good Road Collection."
  • Second place: Anne Perry, for "The Importance of Showcasing Athletes From All Backgrounds."
  • Third place: Sofie Wycklendt, for "The Pieces of My Own Mosaic."

Performance category:

  • First place: Bannon Clark, for “Yungbc Concert.”
  • Second place: Alexis Blasko, for “Elle.”
  • Third place: Diana Huynh, for “Paradise on Earth.”

Exhibit/display category: 

  • First place: Robert Serrano, for "Solar Devils."
  • Second place: Nikhil Mekkattuparamban, for "Lake Litter Solutions."
  • Third place: Thomas Kaufmann, for "BinaryBuddy." 

While Change the World was underway, students also witnessed the final round of the Battle of the Bands. This annual competition looks to find the best band on campus, allowing the winning group to perform as the opening act at Devilpalooza

Devilpalooza is one of the largest student events of the year at ASU. This massive music festival is set to take place Friday, April 19, at Mullett Arena in Tempe, where students can enjoy live music from big-name performers, tasty food vendors and fun exhibits. 

The three finalists that competed in the Battle of the Bands on March 20 were Practically People, Denko and Right Rosemary. All three groups brought their A game, shredding on the guitar and sending melodic ballads throughout the stadium. However, only one could bring home the gold and win a spot in the Devilpalooza lineup. 

Practically People, the band that brought the crowd to their feet, was announced the ultimate winner. To see the group perform again and learn who this year’s mysterious headliner will be, reserve your tickets to Devilpalooza today.

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