Frequently Asked Questions
It looks like there are 12 participants in the 2009 program. How are they selected?
50 students applied, 22 were selected to have an in-person interview, and 12 were selected.
The final 12 were selected based on academic and extracurricular achievements, commitment to social engagement as a lifelong goal, and experience working or living in developing countries. The 12 students went through a series of workshops that help them collaboratively develop and plan project ideas. Initially, they submitted 12 idea proposals in which the Deshpande foundation responded with interest in 6 and requested full proposals for those 6. Finally, 3 of those proposals were approved and the students delegated roles for each team member to the 3 different projects based on the skills and knowledge of each team member and project needs.
Do the students design the programs themselves? Are the communities the students work in given instruction so that they can implement the programs once the students have left?
Students design the projects themselves based on the needs that USC Stevens Institute identified during a trip to India as well as their own research. One of the requirements of the program is that their projects are sustainable. Therefore, all of the teams are asked to think of ways that their project can be continued once they leave. The teams are exploring this sustainability in the various forms of finding a community champion that supports their idea and manages it while they are gone, working with local university students, and/or leaving manuals, pamphlets, and multimedia packages with the community for reference.
What is the role of Deshpande Foundation? Did the students write a grant proposal and they are the sponsor?
Deshpande Foundation funds the program and as part of their sponsorship connects the teams to local NGOs in the Hubli-Dharwad Sandbox area. The students wrote proposals to Deshpande Foundation about their ideas with the guidance of USC. Deshpande Foundation then provided feedback on the proposals and chose the projects from the submitted proposals. Deshpande Foundation has a team in Hubli that is working with over 65 local NGOs.
How often do the students meet? Is this a class given for credit?
After being named a participant in the program, the selected students meet once a week for workshops. The workshops are set up to encourage the students to brainstorm project ideas with each other. Workshops also involve live speakers and videos to help them with their project planning as well as preparation and understanding of the country and culture.
Right now it is not a class. It is a program outside of the students everyday curriculum. In the future, we hope that the USC Global Impact Program will become a multidisciplinary, for-credit class involving three or more schools at USC.
What is the Global Impact program training like? Is it a semester long program?
Training and preparation for the USC Global Impact program takes the form of weekly workshops. This year students had a total of 10 workshops. The workshops usually start with a video from the Ashoka Social Entrepreneurs series that highlight works of leading social entrepreneurs like Muhammad Yunus (Grameen Bank) and Fazle A. Abed (BRAC). We also host a series of live speakers that touched on topics intended to educate the students about the geography, religion, and culture of the country they will be working in. Here is a list of the topics and speakers that came to work with the program participants in 2009:
- "Catalyzing Deep Change" - Rahul Brown - Indian social entrepreneur
- "Religion in India" - Varun Soni - USC Dean of Religious Life. Hindu spiritual leader
- "Adapting to a foreign country" - Marjorie Miller - Former Los Angeles Times Foreign Editor
- "The value of Ethnography" - Continuum. - Innovation and design consultancy.
- "Innovation in India" - Gunjan Bagla - Author: Doing Business in 21st Century India
- "Kanada lesson " - Sumi Rangwala - USC Asian Pacific American Student Services
- "Blogging etiquette" - Dana Rygwelski - USC Stevens Institute for Innovation
What roll does technology play in the USC Global Impact program?
In this year's projects, technology plays a very important role.
The Frontline SMS for Healthcare student team uses the Frontline SMS technology to leverage the already prevalent use of cell phones and SMS in the community to improve communication between healthcare workers, clinics, and large hospitals.
The Hubli Water and Health team introduced the use of ceramic water filters last year to a slum community in Hubli and this year plan on increasing the use of the filters through a microfinance program.
The Puppets in Play team are using HD cameras and other filming equipment to create a multimedia package including a video compact disc that helps other schools and/or NGOs replicate their health and hygiene educational play. They will also have a website that NGOs from around the world could go to and access their multimedia package and implement in their region.
In addition to technology being used in the project, the students were also given Flip cameras and standard digital point-and-shoot cameras to document and blog their experiences during their two month stay.
Check out the USC Global Impact blogs here:
- Frontline SMS for Healthcare: http://stevens.usc.edu/blog/?cat=6
- Hubli Water and Health Project: http://stevens.usc.edu/blog/?cat=4
- Puppets in Play: http://stevens.usc.edu/blog/?cat=5