BU News

Winning Value This! tournament entry builds kindness with innovation

January 28, 2019 by Brandman University

When Brandman University Ed.D. students set out to create a winning Innovation Tournament entry, they’re expected to do more than just find a new use for an ordinary object. They’re also expected to create “value.”

Marilou Ryer
Associate Professor Marilou Ryder shows off the "mystery" object that Ed.D. students were asked to transform for their annual tournament. The object was revealed in September, and teams had eight weeks to complete the project. The winners were announced at the January immersion.                    

That’s what sets the tournament assignment from others that tout innovation, and, according to Marilou Ryder, Ed.D., it’s also why the entries get better every year. She and other faculty members from the Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership program created the tournament as a way to help students build leadership skills while attacking complex problems. [Read the press release].

This year’s entries ranged from the winning bracelet to a seed-covered mat. Other winning entries included vertical gardens, a way to add another layer of protection to classroom doors in the event of an active shooter incident, and a method for reseeding burn areas.

Each project was created from the plastic rings used to hold soda cans together. 

The winning project, “Kindness Recycled,” had a circuitous route to the top spot.

“We originally worked on creating vertical gardens,” said team member Andrea Munro. The problem? They wanted to send them to help an organization in Indonesia, but plastic rings are already banned there.

BraceletThe bracelet idea, based on the theory that it takes five good deeds to overcome one bad one, started to take shape although the group rejected team member Shaunte Bingham’s first design as too complicated for middle school students.

Once the design was refined, the project took on a life of its own. Thanks to the blend of talents and backgrounds in the four-person team – part of a virtual cohort in the Ed.D. program – they found middle school students to test making and using the bracelets. They inked up with the World Kindness Organization to promote the bracelets on World Kindness Day and created a website and Facebook page and Twitter account. They eventually connected with 65 participants – individuals and organizations – in 26 states.

Tournament winners
The winning team shows off their Kindness Bracelets: Rebecca Farley, Jennifer Dinielli, Andrea Munro and Shaunte Bingham (from left).                    

They didn’t just transform the plastic rings. “This definitely transformed our lives,” said Munro, director of instructional design at Brandman, who took on creating the website and required video entry. Jennifer Dinielli, the principal of Los Oso Middle School, provided the middle-school connection and pioneered the first trial run. Rebecca Farley, an education consultant, was the research expert and is now in charge of outreach for the project. Bingham created and fine-tuned how to create the bracelets, relying on her skills as an instructional designer at Brandman.

Despite the high amount of collaboration needed, the team never met in person beyond the initial unveiling of the mystery object at their September Ed.D. immersion. Instead they met synchronously via the web. 

“We brainstormed 100 ideas,” said Dinielli. The goal was to find something they could all feel passionate about while fulfilling the goals of the tournament.

“It really took on a life of its own,” said Farley. The group generated a curriculum that’s posted on their website to show how to use the bracelets, how to host events and retain the 5-1 ratio. To date, they can attribute 500,000 acts of kindness to their project.

The winning video explaining the project can be seen here: https://youtu.be/kWaqqHUo28I

Second Place winnerThe four teams earning second through fifth place are:

  • #Reseed4life from Elizabeth Camy, Anthony Gagliardo, Bonnie Gagliardo, Jennifer Slater-Sanchez, Marcia Hamilton of the Antelope Valley campus. https://youtu.be/JtJwreJrLb0
  • Erosion Control Blankets from Louann Carlomagno, Amira Mostafa, Tracy Smith, Julia Vander Vennet, and Vicki Zands (North Bay Online Cohort): https://youtu.be/ydedwRhERss 
  • Lock Safe from Jaime Zepeda, Jeffery Cameron, Vincent Jordan and Marjorie Paiyarat based In Riverside and Palm Desert: https://youtu.be/0gUBMQFyyBU
  • Growing Creativity with Vertical Gardens from the Roseville team of Jasmin Dhami, Roni Jones, Matthew Medland, Chasity Raybuck-Bonilla, Colleen Slattery, Bradley Tooker and Jeffrey Tooker: https://youtu.be/r6umbjrSlBo
 

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