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Help Shift the Mindset from Consumers to Producers

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Help Shift the Mindset from Consumers to Producers

Coding for Impact with Chelsea Clinton and CGIU

on 09.04.2014 22:30
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If you knew how to code would you want to create the next hot social media app? Or would you try to save the world? There’s no reason you can’t do both, but through our YouthSpark initiative, we’re especially motivated to support students who aim to solve the world’s toughest problems through technological innovations.
By Akhtar Badshah, senior director, Citizenship and Public Affairs

If you knew how to code would you want to create the next hot social media app? Or would you try to save the world? There’s no reason you can’t do both, but through our YouthSpark initiative, we’re especially motivated to support students who aim to solve the world’s toughest problems through technological innovations.

Last week we co-sponsored a codeathon with Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) at Arizona State University. This two-day event brought together four teams of students to develop technology-based solutions related to several CGI commitment areas: Education, Global Health, and Water Quality. It was one aspect of CGIU’s annual meeting that convened more than 1,100 students to make a difference.

Participants didn’t have to be coders to participate. The group also included students focused on landscape architecture, design, and education. Microsoft Citizenship provided guidance on their overall concepts and helped the teams develop their pitches, and our colleagues from the Microsoft Developer Platform Evangelist (DPE) team were on hand to support from a technical perspective.

At the end of the two days, three judges – Chelsea Clinton, Microsoft’s Ashish Jaiman, and Sasha Barab (Executive Director of ASU’s Center for Games and Impact) – listened to each team’s pitch, asked follow-up questions, and measured the projects against the following criteria: Design, Potential for Impact, Relevance, and Creativity.

Ultimately, they selected MediText as the winning app, which helps people remember to take their medication by providing reminders and encouragement. The app provides simple text message reminders with additional community elements that involve doctors, friends, and family – all key parts of the social network that help keep people on track with their medications. Each team member won a Windows Phone, and another codeathon participant won a Surface supplied by Microsoft and raffled off by Chelsea Clinton.

It’s inspiring to see how quickly young people can come together to make a difference! Clinton Global Initiative University is doing phenomenal work motivating young people to get involved in solving the world’s biggest challenges, and we are proud to support them.