UNH Announces Winners of 10th Annual N.H. Social Venture Innovation Challenge
DURHAM, N.H.—Ten finalist student teams presented their ideas for addressing sustainability challenges at the local, regional and global level to a panel of judges, prominent social venture founders, leaders and investors from New Hampshire and beyond at the Social Venture Innovation Challenge. Five prize categories were awarded by the final round judges and a sixth was awarded by the preliminary round judges for best overall first-year student submission. In addition, over 550 individuals voted to award four additional prizes in the Audience Choice Awards. A total of $20,000 in cash and in-kind prizes was awarded to the winning college student teams. Videos from winners and all ten finalist teams can be viewed here.
The SVIC is a platform to help grow a community of skilled problem-solvers capable of addressing society’s most pressing sustainability issues. Designed to be an idea “accelerator,” participants develop original early-stage concepts for creative, financially sustainable solutions towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“There is much work to be done to ensure a sustainable future for this planet and humanity, but we can all feel encouraged by the student leaders who are taking concrete action towards creating momentous and sustainable change,” said Fiona Wilson, director of UNH’s Sustainability Institute and UNH’s Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer.
- NH Aquaponic Initiative took two judges awards—Most Impactful Story to Engage Stakeholders and Most Financially Sustainable Solution. Team members: Alice House (environmental engineering, 2024), Noah Waldron (environmental engineering, 2024), Anna Gombas (civil engineering and German, 2023) and James Wood (environmental engineering, 2023). The initiative is a proposed project to implement aquaponics—the process of raising fish and organic vegetables in tandem—at the state's fish hatcheries.
- Team Enersave took two awards—Most Impact Potential Judges Award and second place in the Audience Choice Awards. The team’s idea utilizes smart home technologies to lower residential energy demand during peak load events, reducing emissions and saving ratepayers money. Team members: Eli Duggan (bioengineering, 2023) and Imran Khan (PhD candidate, civil engineering, 2025).
- Best Articulated Problem was awarded to Coweed, an aquaculture venture to produce a bovine-edible supplement made from THM-rich seaweed, which will reduce methane production in cows. Team members: Anthony Lotane (philosophy, 2025) and Sam Croteau (analytical economics, 2025).
- Brett Schultz (business administration and sustainability) was awarded the Best First-year Student Submission for Closed Loop, which aims to create a more sustainable future for the aerospace industry by collecting carbon dioxide emissions to produce renewable jet fuel.
- Most Original Innovation and third place in the Audience Choice Awards were awarded to juniors Audrey Powers (business administration, finance), Emma Pixley (business administration, marketing), Taylor Burgess (business administration, marketing and management) and Maddie Beaton (business administration, international business and economics and EcoGastronomy) whose idea, Halo, is a date rape drug detector in the form of a smart ring that can sample the drink and log the data collected.
- The first place Audience Choice prize was awarded to senior Clair Carroll (business administration, management and Cinema and Media Arts, UNHM), whose Electric Vehicle SCOUP reinvents the sunshade that provides a supplementary charge to vehicles by utilizing the rays that hit it instead of reflecting them, all while keeping the vehicle cool.
- The fourth place Audience Choice prize went to CRRS biofuel, a company outsourcing oyster mushrooms to produce a more sustainable transportation fuel. Team members: Lilah Read, (neuroscience and behavior, 2025), Jelena Rutter (wildlife and conservation biology, 2024) , Matt Corso (anthropology and EcoGastronomy, 2025) and Jenson Scott (business administration, finance and entrepreneurial studies, 2025)
The SVIC is a collaborative, interdisciplinary event, organized by the UNH Changemaker Collaborative, a partnership of the Sustainability Institute, the Peter T. Paul College of Business & Economics and the Carsey School of Public Policy. Additional collaborators include UNH faculty who embedded the SVIC into their fall courses; Ian Grant, executive director of UNH’s ECenter, who served as advisor to many teams in the final round; and Greg Van Kirk, an award-winning social entrepreneur and Ffounder of Social EntrepreneurU, who led an intensive credit-bearing human-centered design course for students entering the SVIC.
The competition is funded through the generous contributions of sponsors and would not be possible without their help. Major supporters of the 2022 SVIC include Impax Asset Management, Kennebunk Savings and Timberland; additional supporters include Unitil, Cirtronics, CCA Global, Prime Buchholz, Pete and Gerry’s Eggs, New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility, The Recycled Planet Company, and UNH ECenter Maurice Prize.
The University of New Hampshire inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top-ranked programs in business, engineering, law, health and human services, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. A Carnegie Classification R1 institution, UNH partners with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, and received $260 million in competitive external funding in FY21 to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.
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