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Brandman University students transform plastic soda can rings into award-winning bracelets

January 21, 2019 by Victoria Lim

Innovation Tournament entry launches national kindness movement

IRVINE, Calif., Jan. 21, 2019 – Kindness killed the competition at the 2019 Brandman University Innovation Tournament. Doctoral students from Brandman University used this year’s featured item, plastic soda can rings, to make bracelets to win the contest. The bracelets tied to a national kindness movement. 

EdD bracelet kitThe tournament is adapted from Stanford’s Global Innovation Tournament and You Innovate!, hosted nationally by the Canadian Business Foundation. Brandman’s doctorate of education in organizational leadership program is transformational for leaders in education, business, health care and government fields. Candidates practice entrepreneurship, build teamwork, leadership and creativity skills, and join in a friendly competition.

“We know our students will be called upon to form teams within their organizations to solve difficult problems that often require innovative solutions. In this project, our students experienced firsthand what it’s like to participate in a Hot Team and practice skills of team building and developing innovative solutions to solve a complex problem,” said Marilou Ryder, Ed.D., professor, Brandman University School of Education.

Students are divided into cohorts based on location in the fall and given an everyday item with the challenge of making something significant out of it. In previous years, Amazon cardboard boxes, Golden State Foods’ shrink wrap, paint sticks, washcloths, and coat hangers were offered up to students as “mystery items.” Close to 100 doctoral students were assigned to work on one of 17 student-led teams with the mission: Change the world by creating the most value possible.

Innovation Tournament Winners
Cohort mentor Walter Buster (center) joins the winning team for a photo. From left are Rebecca Farley, Jennifer Dinielli, Andrea Munro and Shuante Bingham, all students in Brandman University's Ed.D. in organizational leadership program.               

The 2019 winners are Hot Team 8, from Brandman University’s online campus cohort. Their winning collaboration, “The Kindness Recycled Movement Project” involved Ed.D. students in four cities in three states:

  • Shuante Bingham, instructional designer, Brandman University 
  • Jennifer Dinielli, principal, Los Osos Middle School
  • Rebecca Farley, owner, Lead California
  • Andrea Munro, instructional designer, Brandman University

The team channeled relationship researcher John Gottman’s “Magic Relationship Ratio” - which encourages five positive interactions to counteract a negative one. Pieces of the plastic soda can rings, elastic bands and beads were transformed into bracelets that enabled middle school students to track five kind acts. Once five kind acts were achieved, the bracelet was “recycled,” or passed onto another student so they could continue the chain of kindness. The team created a website and Facebook page that garnered the interest of schools from 26 states and the World Kindness Movement. 

Dr. Walter Buster, a former superintendent, served as the cohort’s mentor. Other creations this year included erosion control blankets, a device that reinforces doors in case of school lock-downs, memory lamps and vertical gardens. 

Winners were honored Monday, Jan. 21, at Brandman University’s three-day Immersion event which brings together more than 150 students enrolled in the Ed.D. program to the Irvine Marriott. Students were assigned this project in their fall course titled “Creativity, Innovation and Sustainable Change,” taught by Dr. Cindy Petersen, superintendent of Gateway Community Charters. Winning team projects are announced each year at a film festival during the January Immersion.

About Brandman University
Brandman University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). As part of the Chapman University System, Brandman blends a legacy of academic excellence with innovative curriculum and strong support services designed for students with busy schedules. The university offers more than 80 undergraduate, graduate, credential and certificate programs across its schools of arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and health. Brandman serves 12,000 students annually with programs available online and more than 25 campuses throughout California and Washington. The university’s online programs consistently rank among the top in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. For additional information, visit http://www.brandman.edu/.

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