University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, MN


Design Students Compete To Launch Environmental Social Ventures

By Design at Minnesota
Feb 4, '12 10:04 AM EST

Three students from the College of Design, Sara Saboonian (architecture), Allyson Czechowicz (architecture), and Indira Manandha (architecture in sustainable design) are competing on separate teams for international scholarships from the Acara program.

Acara, a program of the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment, will award up to eight scholarships to the Acara Summer Institute in Bangalore, India, where winning teams can continue working on ventures they developed last fall. The 2011 topic focused on creating businesses that improve food security and/or the environment in India

The St. Paul-based competition finals event is from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 3 at CoCo, 213 4th St. E., and is open to the public. Five teams of U.S. and Indian students, selected previously from a field of more than 20 teams, will present to a panel of judges from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Three of the five finalist teams include students from the University of Minnesota's College of Design, College of Science and Engineering and Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

After judges provide individual feedback to teams, an open house with appetizers and poster presentations from all the teams is planned from 5 to 6:30 p.m. A session from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. will feature three-minute pitches from the competing teams, a talk from Ashoka fellow and World Savvy founder Dana Mortenson, and award presentations. The morning presentations and evening poster session and presentations are open to the public. The morning presentation will also be webcast live at

For more on Acara, visit them online at