Our Impact

For 10 years, Acara has been more than an educational program. It’s a community of changemakers. A springboard for students with big ideas. A network of mentors and resources. It’s how people become collaborators—and ideas become impact.

Our impact includes:

  • Working with seven Acara Fellow project teams who won the 2020 Acara Challenge, adapting their projects to make sense in a pandemic while also developing their leadership skills. 
  • Modifying our courses as we adjust to living in the midst of a pandemic to think about creating equity and change in a post-pandemic world. In summer 2020 we first offered our modified course GCC 3005/5005 Innovation for the Public Good: Post-Pandemic Venture Design.
  • Developing partnerships with faculty across the UMN system to ensure our programs are interdisciplinary. Our faculty partners include instructors from the School of Nursing, College of Design, Humphrey, Carlson, and Mechanical Engineering. 
  • Supporting community and energy resilience in Puerto Rico through the Global Convergence Lab-Puerto Rico. In partnership with Dr. Gabe Chan (Humphrey School) and Dr. Jacob Mans (Architecture), and colleagues in Puerto Rico, we have taught two graduate-level courses in Puerto Rico and had students in Acara courses work on related projects.
    • The UMN is also now a leader in a national network that is exploring how university researchers and students should respond to climate-induced natural disasters
  • Joining a multi-university, interdisciplinary partnership with Alight (formerly the American Refugee Committee) working on enhancing learning, research, and community development efforts in response to more than 272 million people migrating in 2019.

In the midst of a world where pandemics, natural disasters and energy are discussed almost daily and the world’s refugee and displaced populations continue to grow, we are energized by the students we work with who are committed to creating change.