USD Announces Jacobs Institute Changemaker Challenge Winners

Teens (cartoon-like) in front of the image of Earth with the text Winners and Finalists displayed in front of them for The Jacobs Institute Changemaker Challenge

The University of San Diego is proud to announce the winners of The Jacobs Institute Changemaker Challenge. Over 40 educators, with an estimated 1500 teenage students, signed up for this worldwide virtual event to use Pactful to become social good innovators by creating solutions to local and global problems aligned to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The challenge, sponsored by the generosity of Dr. Irwin and Mrs. Joan Jacobs, began in January 2020 and culminated in a pitch competition.

Created by The Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Education at the University of San Diego, Pactful is a standards-aligned curriculum and virtual tool for teachers and teenagers who want to build a better world. Pactful was designed to recapture the “Lost Einsteins,” and empower learners, educators, and communities to innovate from within.

1st place winners will receive $500 for the student team and $500 for their teacher. 2nd–5th place winners will receive $250 for the student teams and $250 for their teacher.

The first place team created “Go-Green Food Bags,” hand-made, reusable, 100% eco-friendly bags made from recycled materials. This solution was created by a 9th grade team with two girls and two boys from Mount Everest Academy and supported by teachers Eric Nielson and Kris Rodenberg.

Rank Project Name Team Name School 
1 Go Green Food Bags Responsible Consumption and Production Mt. Everest Academy
2 Idle Reminder Idle Reminder E3 Civic High School
3 PhytoAttack Hidali, Alana, Jeshua, Lillian E3 Civic High School
4 Gender Equality Femme Mt. Everest Academy
5 Life in a Bucket Life in a Bucket Kearny High School of Biomedical Science and Technology

Pactful is a non-traditional method for students to understand, analyze, think critically, problem-solve, and design with the goal of pitching a solution that could make a positive impact. The Pactful curriculum and tool lead student teams through three design thinking phases—Understand, Ideate, and Prototype—culminating in a Pitch to share their solution. Teachers guide student teams through the curriculum and provide feedback to students while they’re creating their innovations.

More information about Pactful can be found at

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