BU News

Earth Day 2019: Celebrating sustainability with a look back at Brandman’s Innovation Tournaments

April 22, 2019 by Victoria Lim

Saving lives and water, spreading warmth and kindness – on this Earth Day, we celebrate a key component of Brandman University’s Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership (Ed.D.) – one that focuses on sustainability and transformation.

The Ed.D.’s annual Innovation Tournament is adapted from Stanford’s Global Innovation Tournament and You Innovate! hosted nationally by the Canadian Business Foundation. The Ed.D. is transformational for education, business, health care and government leaders and gives them the opportunity to practice entrepreneurship, build teamwork, leadership and creativity skills, and engage in friendly competition.

Each year students are split into “Hot Teams” and given an everyday item with the challenge of making something significant out it. Here’s a recap of the winning projects from the last four years:

2016 - Reminder Rags

Perhaps not an elegant name, but it’s a life-saving project. The Antelope Valley campus cohort transformed a washcloth into a cell phone holder with a heart symbol, reminding drivers not to text and drive. At least 3,450 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, including those who were texting and driving, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration

More than 130 community volunteers rallied around the effort to create and distribute them to three high schools, a community college, and a car dealership.

Check out the project here.

2017 – Amazon Lilly Pad

The world’s biggest online retailer, Amazon, collaborated with Brandman University and donated cardboard boxes for the 2017 contest. The Hot Team from Riverside, Calif. transformed boxes into discs that served as water conservation tools.

“At Amazon we love innovative ideas! The projects produced by the students at Brandman University were very impressive with both their creativity and their applicability. Everything from providing a place to study for disadvantaged kids to creating shoes for those in need has inspired us to explore more ideas of how the Amazon box can improve the lives of people in our own communities and beyond,” said Trent Huntington, Amazon’s project manager for Sustainability-Waste Minimization.

Check out the project here.

2018 – Quilts for Those Without Shelter

Golden State Foods sponsored the 2018 contest with the donation of shrink wrap as the ordinary item. Of the 14 student-led teams, the Hot Team from Fairfield, Calif. won by creating lightweight yet warm quilts with shrink-wrap batting. Not only did the team face the challenge of innovating, but many members of the student-led team also faced the wildfires that raged across Santa Rosa this same year – and still managed to complete all of the project milestones on time.

“Partnering with Brandman during this tournament has been a great experience,” said Dr. Herb Callahan, senior director of human resources, GSF, and Brandman University 2016 Ed.D. alumnus. “Not only did we get to see some innovative ideas that support our own ongoing efforts for sustainable operations, but we also got to see and hear from more than 100 doctoral students who are passionate about transforming our world. The ripple effect of their efforts and inspiration will have a lasting impact on GSF and all of the organizations the students interacted with during this project.”

The project was also honored by community leaders, winning the Solano County Innovator of the Year Award.

More details about the project are here.

2019 – Kindness Recycled

This year’s winner didn’t just top the judges’ charts, it sparked a nationwide movement. The Hot Team from the virtual cohort, with students in Mississippi, California and Maine created bracelets out of plastic rings that are used to hold soda  cans together.

The bracelet idea was designed with the theory in mind that it takes five good deeds to overcome one bad one. The Hot Team linked up with the World Kindness Organization to promote the bracelets on World Kindness Day, eventually connecting with 65 participants – individuals and organizations – in 26 states.

If you would like to spread kindness and sustainability through this project in your community, check out the team’s websiteFacebook page and Twitter account.

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