Many UC Berkeley undergraduate and graduate students are passionate about tackling the biggest challenges of the 21st century, including global health, climate change, and poverty reduction. Mr. Kalil commits to empower these students to change the world by expanding the 'Big Ideas' initiative, and providing students with funding, mentoring, high-level introductions to corporate, foundation, and non-profit partners, and advice on marketing, communications, fundraising, and how to have influence without authority.
Within the next year, the following will be accomplished:
1. Financial resources and in-kind contributions will be mobilized for at least 10 new or expanded student-led, faculty-advised projects in health, poverty, and climate.
2. A campus-wide, ,000 white paper competition will be sponsored in 2007 in partnership with the student government, encouraging students to submit their best ideas for addressing global challenges.
3. Partnership with CommerceNet and social e-commerce company ChipIn to develop an 'online marketplace' for student-led initiatives. This will allow vetted student projects to post past accomplishments, future plans, and budgets, allowing UC Berkeley alumni and other individuals and organizations to make on-line contribution and support to them.
4. 1-2 student projects will make the transition from a student idea or project to a larger-scale university research, education and service initiative, such as a university 'center of excellence' in safe drinking water and sanitation OR a new degree/certificate program in energy innovation.
5. Promote awareness (and potentially adoption) of successful elements of Big Ideas at other universities through publications and speeches.
The Big Ideas Initiative started with an unrestricted seed grant from Omidyar Network via Stewart Brand, author of the Whole Earth Catalogue and President of the Long Now Foundation. With additional funding from the College of Engineering, Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society and VC firm Sevin Rosen, the money was used to empower student-led teams at UC Berkeley.
The Big Ideas Initiative supports student clubs, contests, project-oriented courses with real-world clients, field work, service-learning, and greater student involvement in shaping and inspiring the next generation of research and education initiatives at UC Berkeley.
Some examples of projects supported by the Big Ideas Initiative:
1. A filter designed by a student group at UC Berkeley helped bring safe drinking water to communities in the slums of Mumbai, India, where the dysentery rate is 80%. In addition to the filter made for from locally available parts, an effective education campaign was designed in partnership with a women's self-help organization. As a result, the local Rotary Club reprinted 25,000 copies of a Hindi-language health and hygiene booklet.
2. Launched a student network to determine effective marketing and distribution strategies for an inexpensive, off-patent drug that could significantly reduce the number of women (500,000 per year) that die in childbirth or from pregnancy-related complications.
3. Designed an efficient cook stove for the refugee camps in Darfur, where women and children spend up to 7 hours a day searching for fuel wood, and are vulnerable to rape when they leave the camp.
4. Demonstrated the potential of geospatial information systems to predict the spread of vector-borne diseases such as malaria, and met with senior executives from the IT industry and corporate foundations to discuss deployment of this technology throughout India.
5. Started the design of a cell phone-based mobile game to teach out-of-school children in the developing world to learn English as a Second Language - drawing on the skills of graduate and undergraduate students with backgrounds in computer science, psychology, cognitive science, education, and economics.
6. Launched an initiative to train the next generation of 'clean energy' entrepreneurs at the Haas Business School, with new courses and joint degree programs.