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February 18, 2020 | By justin

Community Spotlight: Change-a-thon with the Black Resource Center

Envisioning a smarter future in a day

Welcome to the CollegeWear, Inc. Community Spotlight series! Our mission at CollegeWear, Inc. is to not only provide quality custom shirts, but to help celebrate the communities we serve. From major events occurring in our hometown of San Diego, to small college clubs just starting out, we want to highlight some of the fantastic groups and events we’ve had the pleasure of serving.

This year, the inaugural Change-a-thon, hosted by the Black Resource Center and The Basement at UC San Diego, took place on February 1st. Students, staff, faculty, and alumni were invited to participate in this new event to answer one question, "How can we envision a smart city through the lens of Blackness?"

Students and staff working together.
 

Less Coding, More Creating

The Change-a-thon derives from a similar event concept, a “hackathon,” which aims to bring together groups of people to solve problems in a defined amount of time. Many early hackathons often involve creating new technology; though nowadays, hackathons can involve just about anything, so long as the goal is to creatively solve a problem.

For the inaugural Change-a-thon, the UC San Diego Black Resource Center (alongside The Basement), brought together students, staff, and faculty to answer one question “How can we envision a smart city through the lens of Blackness?” This comes about as our world around us begins to adopt new technologies and integrate them into the cities we may live or work in, and how such technological adaptations could be used to positively impact Black communities.

In 12 hours, groups worked hard in finding those solutions, through teamwork, creativity, and lots of construction paper.

Attendees partaking in meditation during the event.
 

Gearing Up For the Future

To help bridge the theme of teamwork and unity for an inaugural event like this, it’s always important to help everyone feel like they are a part of a greater cause. CollegeWear, Inc. had the opportunity to provide customized shirts designed specifically for the staff, students, and faculty participating in this event!

In addition to the BRC logo, also incorporated into the design of the custom shirts was the event message “envisioning smart cities through the lens of blackness.” The tagline serves as a reminder as to what we can do to help marginalized communities live a better life in a rapidly evolving technological society.

Students viewing a presentation at the event.
 

Letting Creativity Flow

There were many great ideas explored by the participants at the event, many of which aiming to address relevant issues found in today’s Black communities: from health & wellness, law & community enforcement, and access.

One thought-provoking idea explored by participants Kaelyn Ford and Maliq de Piña was a concept of an artificial intelligence that could track communication and interactions between doctors and patients, which in turn can address implicit biases many often face during examinations and checkups. Their idea, and many more creative solutions, could be read about here!

“Students, staff, and mentors were extremely excited to participate in the event,” says Porsia Curry, Director at the UC San Diego Black Resource Center, “This was an inaugural event, but many are excited to participate next year and are looking forward to seeing the event grow.”

Overall, many who were involved with this event had enjoyed the experience to not only have an outlet for their creative problem solving, but to put their minds together for an important cause.

A panel discussion discussing the importance of the problem at hand.

Creating Ideas Worth Exploring

Concluding the event was a panel of experts from the campus and community, leading a discussion on realizing the importance of including the perspectives marginalized communities when envisioning a smarter future. Following the panel, groups had the opportunity to showcase their ideas to the judges, and learn their next steps into possibly bringing forth their ideas into reality.

CollegeWear, Inc. is thankful to have provided custom shirts for such an amazing, impactful event, and we are looking forward to seeing what this community of young thinkers and leaders have for the future!

Is your community or organization hosting an upcoming event? Let us help! We offer quality, budget friendly custom shirts and giveaways. Contact us today! Our team is standing by to help! Click here to get started.

Images courtesy of Curry Porsia.

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