New School News

Games, Apps, Films and Maps: New Challenge Winners Announced

When The New School announced its first-ever New Challenge, a social entrepreneurship contest offering winners up to $10,000 in funding, the response on campus was huge. The New Challenge, part of The New School’s Social Innovation Initiative, received more than 60 student submissions from across the university’s divisions, with projects ranging from films to apps to games.

On Monday, April 16th, the contest culminated with the New Challenge Finalist Exhibition where the finalists pitched their ideas to event attendees, including five finalist judges (including New School Board Members Judith Zarin, Marian Cross, David Ford, Michael Donavon and Fred Dust). Afterwards, President Van Zandt, students, judges, and faculty celebrated the winners in an awards ceremony.

Read on for a list of winning and finalist projects, and visit for more information. New Challenge is organized by TNSchangemakers, a network of faculty, administrators and students at The New School that promotes social innovation on campus.

The 2012 winning projects

“Amigo Legal Games” – $10,000 prize
Lien Tran, Parsons ‘ Parsons, Design & Technology
This project uses games to teach immigrant youth their rights so they can better understand their legal situation and effectively defend themselves in court. Games are currently being developed in collaboration with immigration attorneys and piloted with immigrant youth in the New York City area.

“Digital Mass, – $5,000 prize
Matthew Willse ‘ Parsons, Design & Technology
Digital Mass traces cyclists’ routes and rebroadcasts that information to create a rich understanding of the most ecological transportation in the city. Digital Mass provides the backbone for countless technical, artistic, and civic initiatives to help make commuting by bike a more safe, fun, and prolific form of transportation throughout the city.

“Real Cost of HCV”- $5,000 prize
Kenneth Roraback – Parsons, Design & Technology
The Real Cost of HCV is an interface for accessing data about hepatitis C in Eurasia that will shed light on the disease that afflicts ten million people in the region, helping them to get the testing and treatment that they deserve. This data interface (commonly called an application programming interface, or API) will allow a people across 29 countries to access and visualize personal stories, treatment costs, and citizen testing and treatment reports.

“Blank Plate”- $2,500 prize
Mai Kobori, Amy Findeiss, and Eulani Labay ‘ Parsons, Transdisciplinary Design
Blank Plate is an experimental workshop that aims to inspire Hunts Point teens, encouraging them to make new connections with their community and transforming their relationship to food through creative culinary experiences. Collaborating between key players in various fields, the workshop is part of a flow through Hunts Point’s food ecosystem with the potential to create a ripple effect of transformation in the neighborhood. The project coordinates with several other food and education initiatives in the South Bronx with the goal of cultivating a food-centric community in an area currently challenged with issues of food justice.

“Landless Workers Movement Documentary”- $2,500 prize
Dori Cohen & Kelin Long-Gaye – NSPE/Milano, Graduate Program in Int’l Affairs
Brazil’s Landless Worker’s Movement (MST) promotes agrarian reform in to make land ownership a reality for poor people. The voices and ideas of the poor are often left out of national discussions and decisions on economic development. This project seeks to produce a film that would provide practitioners, activists, and citizens a unique insight into an alternative community based development approach in which a group of rural poor people have organized themselves to address their own development needs.

“Liberian Prison Project”- $2,500 prize
Nora Rahimian – NSPE/Milano, Graduate Program in Int’l Affairs
*Nora was also the recipient of an additional Leadership Potential Award in the amount of $2,500
Working in partnership with local community-based organizations, the Liberian Prison Project will provide psychosocial and skills-based services to incarcerated juveniles in Monrovia Central Prison. Trained community members will conduct regular workshops and build supportive relationships with youth. Upon release, youth will be teamed up with an adult mentor who will provide an apprenticeship or other form of community engagement opportunity. The program aims to positively engage youth in their communities while reducing crime and recidivism.

“Tamika Ventura” – $2,500 prize
Dominque C. Howse ‘ NSPE/Milano, Urban Policy
Tamika Ventura, Dedicated to the Sole of a Woman stands as an international shoe company and transitional program that incorporates the lives of women who have suffered from domestic violence by weaving their design perspectives, insight and testimonies into design platforms that spread awareness, empowerment and style.

Welcomesburg: Gentrification Offsetting, – $2,500 prize
Jacqueline Cooksey & Benjamin Winter ‘ Parsons, Transdisciplinary Design
This service design project that aims to raise awareness about gentrification and foster more inclusive change in vulnerable urban communities. Inspired by carbon footprinting, and offsetting schemes, this project challenges individuals to consider the unintended consequences of their presence in their community and, in the spirit of friendly competition, encourages them to be more sensitive and supportive of their neighbors.

Project Gamarra: Re-Locating Design, – $500 Community Vote Prize
Lucie Cuba Oroza – Parsons, Fashion Design and Society
Re-Locating Design is an activist-design project that aims to raise awareness among designers, students, firms, neighbors, local authorities and consumers on the importance of conceiving of the Gamarra Commercial Emporium in Lima (Peru), not only as an industrial cluster, but as an urban ecology, a site of creativity and a space of confluence of diverse peoples and cultural identities, in an attempt to promote self-reflection, social development and the strengthening of social cohesion and sustainable practices in this urban context.


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