“I was blown away with how articulate and passionate every group was.” — Ted Leonsis, in the Huffington Post
featuring special guests
On October 27th, 2012, students representing the five top teams — from Georgetown University, Harvard University, New York University, the University of Illinois-Chicago and the University of Virginia — went head to head in the Finals of the 2012 Greeks Give Back Challenge National Student Competition, as they presented their proposals for community service projects to a panel of independent judges and an audience of students, professors, sponsors, mentors and other special guests from the Greek and Cypriot embassies, Capitol Hill, the World Bank and elsewhere, in the McDonough School of Business’ Lohrfink Auditorium on Georgetown University’s campus in Washington, DC.
After hearing short presentations from the teams, which incorporated powerpoint, video and internet components, the six judges, who are distinguished individuals with experience in education, community service, business and the non-profit world — Margo Anderson, innovator in education and arts grants, Michael Kosmas, Special Counsel, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, Dean Aristotle Phillips, President of Aristotle, Inc., Barbara Spyridon Pope, former Assistant Secretary of State, Jennifer Poulakidas, Vice President of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, and Savvas Savopoulos, entrepreneur and angel investor — posed probing questions to each team about the feasibility, budget and scalability of the students’ proposed service projects, the specific needs being addressed by their projects, and how the outcomes of their efforts were going to be measured and evaluated.
While different teams excelled in different aspects of the judges’ criteria, the judges were unanimous in selecting the University of Virginia team’s proposed service project as the overall winner.
More than 45,000 students take part in online poll
At the same time the judges’ results were announced, the Next Generation Initiative closed its online poll where students could vote for their favorite team (out of the 18 teams who took part in the year-long Competition). After tallying more than 45,000 votes from students around the country over the course of just nine days, it was announced that the Chicago Schools Combined Team (University of Chicago, DePaul, Loyola, UIChicago and Northwestern) won a special grant for their service project, by finishing in first place with 20,225 votes (Harvard came in second with 16,394 votes; Duke — 3,829 votes; U. of Illinois-Chicago — 3,113 votes; Princeton — 2,654 votes).
So you want to change the world…
While the Competition judges were making their decision, Next Generation Initiative board members Ted Leonsis, high-tech entrepreneur, philanthropist and owner of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and Vice Chairman Emeritus of AOL, and Sylvia Mathews Burwell, former president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Development Program and current president of the Walmart Foundation, took the stage with Rep. John Sarbanes, U.S. Congressman from Maryland’s Third District, for a special Conversation with the students, moderated by Paul Glastris, Editor of the Washington Monthly magazine, on the theme of “So you want to change the world…” — the national kickoff of the Next Generation Initiative’s new 2012-2013 Series of Master Classes with entrepreneurs and innovators, which was livestreamed online as part of the Finals.
Stepping forward to show support the next generation’s efforts
Before the Competition results were announced, Mr. Leonsis stunned the students (and thrilled the audience) with his spontaneous and completely unexpected offer to fund the service projects of the Finalist teams that didn’t win the top prize in the Competition.
First, we want to thank all the student teams who worked so hard to make this first Greeks Give Back Challenge a success.
Secondly, a big thanks go out to all the mentors who worked with individual student teams on their proposals. Bravo!
We also want to thank the following organizations and individuals from our community who have joined us in showing their support for the students taking part in the Next Generation National Student Competition — and showing the world how Greeks give back.
Please join us in thanking the following individuals for their outstanding support and leadership in making it possible for student teams from around the country to participate in the Finals of the National Competition:
Dr. Andrew Economos
George & Daphne Hatsopoulos
Jim & Ted Pedas
LARGE GRANT SPONSORS
William & Constance Vlahoulis
SMALL GRANT SPONSORS
Theane Evangelis Kapur
Please join us in thanking the following organizations who are making it possible to offer grants to the student teams who have developed community service projects that meet the Challenge’s criteria and have advanced to the Semi-Final stage of the Competition:
The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association
The Alpha Omega Council
The American Hellenic Institute
The Hellenic American Bankers Association
The Hellenic American Women’s Council
The Hellenic Lawyers Association of New York
The Hellenic Society Prometheas
The Ladies Philoptochos Society/Greek Orthodox Church of St. George in Bethesda, MD
The Pancretan Association of America
Giving back: turning values into action
The Next Generation National Student Competition is an outcome of the Got Greek? Project’s Next Generation National Student Research Study, and is made possible by a generous grant from the Zapis Charitable Foundation, along with additional support from the Maliotis Charitable Foundation and the Gerondelis Foundation.
Show your support
You can join these foundations and leaders from our community — and encourage these outstanding students in their efforts to give back to their communities, turning the values their heritage embodies into action — when you show your support with a donation to Greeks Give Back Challenge.
About the 2012 Competition
As part of the National Competition, each student team has followed a set of guidelines to develop a detailed proposal and budget for a community service project they will undertake during the 2012-2013 academic year.
Working with a faculty advisor from their campus, and at least one outside, non-academic advisor or mentor, student teams have been competing to develop the most innovative idea for a community service project that will have a concrete, positive social impact upon others, in a way that serves their needs.
To take part in the next stage of the Competition, teams were required to submit a proposal in April 2012 that follows the Competition requirements and fulfills certain selection criteria. The most competitive proposals were selected as semi-finalists and became eligible for small grants towards funding their proposed projects. The top finalists in the Competition were then invited to present their project proposals before an independent panel of judges in the Final stage of the Competition. The top finalists are receiving monetary grants to implement their projects during the 2012-2013 academic year.
Greeks Give Back links
How to Give Back: Ideas, resources and examples for student projects
Everyone Can Make a Difference: Announcing the Greeks Give Back Challenge