Student Perspectives on New Challenge

To date, more than 800 students have applied to New Challenge and more than 70 students have received funding. Teams are tackling a range of issues, including transitional employment for the formerly incarcerated, sustainable transportation, housing justice, physical and learning disabilities, recycling, climate change, education (STEM, arts-based learning), food systems, civic tech, and more. They are working both in the United States and across the globe, including New York City, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Colombia, Cuba, India, Liberia, Uganda, and Ethiopia.

“Being a part of New Challenge has been my most valuable experience at The New School. It has taught me how to make a real impact on the world and made me realize what I want to do for the next 10 years. The support of New Challenge has given me the confidence to pursue this project on a bigger scale and the mentorship I needed to see it through. I have received leadership training that I will use for the rest of my life.”

— Kate Wallace, New School student (BFA)

“I learned how to build a community of supporters and keep them engaged over time. New Challenge helped me inform a community much larger than what I ever could have without the encouragement of the Community Vote. It pushed me to put myself out there, get feedback, grow faster, and improve constantly.”

— Amy Chasan, Nonprofit Management (MS)

“The most important thing I’ve learned is not to give up on my dream. Progress may be slow and there may be times when it feels like I’ve become stagnant or even moving backward, but the key is to not to give up and just keep moving forward.”

— Talib Hudson, Urban Policy (MS)

“I gained the confidence to share my ideas, knowing that they will be respected and valued at the highest levels. That sharing leads to connections, new ideas, and even funding.”

— James Frankis, Transdisciplinary Design (MFA)

“New Challenge launched my interest in social entrepreneurship and helped me become a leader. It gave me the support needed to take on an ambitious project and get it started and running. Whether you want to become a lifelong entrepreneur or just help incubate and grow innovative ideas in their early stage, participating in a program like this gives you the support and skills needed. I feel very lucky for all I got from the experience. One thing I love about The New School is its dedication to critical thought; not just innovation as a catch word but innovation as an ability to see possibility.”

— Ann Bickerton, Nonprofit Management (MS)

“Within many of the traditional structures of academia, students frequently take more from communities than they give back when doing so-called ‘participatory research and community engagement projects.’ While critical spaces that interrogate this dynamic do exist, they are rare, and it is hard to maintain their stability given the student lifecycle. I feel that New Challenge gave me the space and resources to forge a new path. While working on Voces Colectivas, there were many moments where we stumbled, but I have learned an immensely valuable lesson about what it actually takes to build active and ongoing solidarity with frontline communities fighting for justice and freedom.”

— Jillian White, Media Studies (MA)
Listen to The New School students Dominique Howse and Talib Hudson describe their experience with New Challenge:

Heart of the Challenge: New Challenge 2012/13 from New Challenge on Vimeo.

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