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Citadel News Service
27 Sep 2012

Students look for creative solutions to world problems

This month, 54 cadets and active duty military students began work to solve the problems of the world.

From human rights violations to dwindling water supplies to poverty, the cadets are looking for solutions in partnership with their counterparts from around the globe.

They are part of EVOKE, an online social networking course in global issues conducted by the World Bank Institute. The 10-week EVOKE course, which is presented in an online, asynchronous "game" format, is designed to engage students from around the world to work together to find creative solutions to real-world global problems, like food security, water security, poverty, education and human rights. The last round included students from Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, Taiwan, Uganda, the United States and Zambia.

The EVOKE network challenge began this fall as part of a Non-Western Studies course in the Department of Political Science. No official course credit is given, but the cadets involved volunteered for the chance to be The Citadel's EVOKE "agents."

The resources and links that I've gotten from the "missions" have been pretty enlightening," said Sgt. Christopher Fox, an active duty Marine in The Citadel's Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP). "It seems like a good tool to keep track of real changes being made in the developing world by regular people, and it shows that you don't need to be a wealthy organization or a state government in order to affect the lives of others on the other side of the globe for the better."

Each week students undertake a different "mission," in which they "investigate" a specific issue and discuss it with their counterparts—or so-called agents—from other countries. From time to time, they are asked to undertake service-related projects. The cadets then prepare blog posts to complete each mission.

The course is designed not only to educate students on global issues, but also to further develop skills related to collaboration, courage, creativity, entrepreneurship, local insight, knowledge sharing, resourcefulness, sustainability and vision, said Sarah Tenney, assistant professor of political science. A new mission is posted every Wednesday at midnight, and students have one week to complete it.

Individual cadets can devote as much or as little time to EVOKE as they choose. However, those completing all 10 missions will be awarded a certificate in social innovation from the World Bank Institute. They will also become eligible for online mentoring programs, travel grants to attend a conference in Washington, DC, fellowships for travel abroad, and seed funding for social innovation projects.

This year's Citadel EVOKE agents are Alex Allendale, Andrew Alvarado, Eric Andersen, Matthew Bernard, Matthew Boatner, Cameron Bowman, Robert Brannan, Mark Briden, Clayton Broom, Eugene Claypool, Elliott Cleveland, Zachary Conlee, Joshua Dandridge, Victor Davalos, Sebastian Delos Santos, Addison DeMallie, Geoffrey Dennis, Salvador Fierro, Matthew, Flure, Christopher Fox, Jonah Gadbois, Erik Giggleman, Jordan Gwaltney, John Holl, Matthew Holliday, Daniel Howell, Delair Hudson, Nick Juliano, Robert Keene, Drake Kosmoski, Trevor Kuroczka, Mike Lacey, Jordan Lavin, Parker Lewis, Nabe Madden, Lee Moody, Brandon Moore, Micah Moore, Matthew Neal, Zaire O'Brien, Ian Packard, Mike Perrone, Matthew Phillips, Matthew Piper, Brittany Rehborn, Jonathan Rosen, Cameron Slappe, Ashley Sparks, James Swedensky, Ben Thompson, Zack Thurber, Michael Van Liew, Geoff Wright, and Nathan Wright.

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