Dearborn, Mich. — Things are going swimmingly for the University of Pittsburgh students and their 21st Century Food System after winning the 10 Year Anniversary Ford College Community Challenge Bonus Challenge.
Three of this year's 10 winning college teams were invited to Dearborn, Mich., for two days. Primary among the trip’s activities was the opportunity to pitch their mobility solutions to Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund; Mary Culler, director, office of the executive chairman; and John Kwant, vice president, City Solutions, Ford Smart Mobility, yesterday in world headquarters. At stake: a Ford Transit Connect and $10,000 to help make their mobility solutions a reality.
“Ford C3 has been a tremendously successful program in that it has completely changed our mindset on how we engage with college students,” Mike Schmidt, director of education and global community development, Ford Motor Company Fund, said. “Through C3, we recognized that students can be a huge force for good and that if we give them the right support, they can change in the world. And we are doing that, now, on a global scale.”
The Aquaponics Project from The University of Pittsburgh addresses regional food scarcity through its portable aquaponics facility where tilapia eat rescued food and then produce fertilizer. Winning the Transit and $10,000 allows the students to collect from more food sources and improve logistics of the pick-up process. The additional grant will make possible the installation of a refrigeration unit into the Transit to serve both food collection and aquaponics aspects of the project.
Team member Kareem Rabbat said, "It was a great experience to see other students achieving awesome feats and it's really great to see our ideas come to life thanks to Ford's funding"
The students at the Olin College of Engineering, developed the Coahoma Mobile Education, a hands-on, project-based exploration of arts, technology, and entrepreneurship, accessible to rural youth in Coahoma County, Mississippi. The engineering students work with youth building electric guitars, teaching the youth electrical assembly, carpentry and 3D-modeling skills in a mobile space. Their second-place winnings of $20,000 will help fund weekly pop-up activities, plus a rotating 12-week guitar-building program.
Students from Michigan Tech’s Medical Transportation Management System won $10,000 to continue improvement of the system to allow their partner organization, Little Brothers—Friends of the Elderly, to maximize their no cost door-to-door medical transportation service for the elderly. The system gives Little Brothers—Friends of the Elderly’s volunteers the ability to create a more accurate schedule, allowing more than twice as many people (200+) to take advantage of the medical transportation service.