THE RESPONSE FREE!
Weekly email with three solutions stories illustrating responses that work, pivoting off the latest news moments.
SolutionsU® is collaborating with students to create resources that illustrate how students are using solutions stories in their classes, research, service trips, student organizations, and everyday lives. You too can inform and infuse your own education with knowledge of what is working!
The stories that stand out the most to me are the ones where I didn’t know there was a problem and the solutions seem so important that I can’t believe that I hadn’t heard about it or someone hadn’t thought of it sooner.”
As a recent graduate, she says she recently discovered that solutions journalism stories can be valuable in her career preparation process.
Serena says that as she was preparing for interviews with startups in the Philadelphia area, she remembered that she had seen stories in the Solutions Story Tracker about the region. She typed “Philadelphia” and “start-ups” into the Search on SolutionsU and found stories on current projects and innovative solutions in that area. Serena is apart of the Venture for America cohort and knew that she was looking for jobs in the entrepreneurship sector in cities like New Orleans, Detroit, Birmingham, and Baltimore.
“As I was getting ready to interview in those places that I didn’t really know that much about or hadn’t visited, I could learn about the entrepreneurship space in those cities weren’t dominated by traditional big investors that you might hear about in Silicon Valley...Those searches gave me a really good foundation to understand what the startup world looks like in cities the news doesn’t talk about that much.”
In my generation, I think the trend is either ‘I don’t care about politics, I don’t care about the world, the systems are all broken’, or it’s ‘Our voices matter, we need to get involved’. The latter attitude is where change begins, and solutions journalism makes me feel like I am not alone in wanting to affect change that impacts the greater good.”
Aidan Noble-Goodman is pursuing a career in the health sector and is the former Solutions Journalism health story fellow. Aidan says she uses SolutionsU and solutions stories not only in her work as a fellow, but in class research, in her daily conversations, and to gain knowledge about the health sector.
As the former health story fellow, Aidan spent seven to ten hours a week reading stories, noting key themes, and creating collections based on those themes. She describes the process of creating story collections this way: "As soon as a see a theme in two stories, I'll create a collection" The process continued, she says, until she had enough stories to create a full collection, typically four to five stories.
Aidan says she tries to use this inspiration and channel it into knowledge and action for the future. "I am someone who gets overwhelmed by social problems," she says, "and solutions stories show me the myriad of ways I can have an impact."
Reading stories, she says, helps her stay up to date on the innovations, challenges, and potential in her field. And the knowledge she procures, she says, she often shares with others, whether that's sending articles to her friends, or talking to her neighbor.
Solutions journalism stories are aligned with how I want to view the world. They focus more on what people are doing well, and on what’s working. Reading these stories puts me in the frame of mind to figure out what interests me most, and what interests other people. It makes me think about what else I can do to be a better learner.”
Maximizing her time is essential to maintaining her life, she says, and when it comes to working on her masters degree in Urban Sustainability, one way she does this is with SolutionsU.
Each semester includes at least one significant research project, and each semester, she says, she has the opportunity to select a new topic to investigate. She says the first place she goes is SolutionsU to get a "broad view of the subject matter." She enters keywords that reflect what she's studying and contemplating for further research, and then she and her research partner discuss the challenges and solutions presented in each story she finds.
Keri says that SolutionsU's story collection feature has also been especially helpful to her as a student.
"The story fellows create collections that are carefully and thoughtfully crafted, with in-depth summaries of what they've learned," she says. Anyone with a SolutionsU profile can create and save story collections on the website, and Keri says she often creates collections of stories on topics she is interested in.
Keri says she also reads solutions stories just out of curiosity and for personal growth. She says solutions journalism stories have been particularly useful to her in her personal life.
I think it is important for students who are interested in producing media content; I think it’s important to consider all sides of the stories.”
Randy Mueller is a Junior studying business administration and journalism at Fordham University. As a budding journalist, he is very interested in community based impact and is even a member of the Fordham Social Innovation Collaboratory (a university-wide network of students, alumni, faculty, that produces and funds student run projects devoted to social innovation). It was under this guidance and leadership that “The Innovator” was born, a student-run magazine reporting on solutions journalism stories.
Early in 2018, Randy began to consult with people about the idea of a newspaper that was staffed by students who would do solutions reporting. The project began as a club, with 4 members who were interested in reporting on meaningful, equitable, and lasting change in their communities. These students, including himself, were not studying journalism but were up for the task of learning the craft using Solutions Journalism Network materials. They participated in webinars and went through the toolkits on the website. Randy discussed the difficulties of putting journalism into practice from a solutions lens without the background knowledge of the field: “only two of the six writers had written an article for a publication [beforehand]”. Nevertheless, students relied on their ideas of journalism, the self-training using Solutions Journalism Toolkit, and their own interests or university coursework to produce quality stories that the Bronx community would be proud of.
Randy says, “I wrote about farming and agriculture, someone else wrote about sex education, and someone else about the food system.” These issues are not unique to the Bronx, but with solutions journalism Randy and his team were able to depict how this community is actively working towards fixing these issues.
Interested in reading “The Innovator”, click here.
I [now] have access to ideas...the hardest thing for students like me is that we all like the idea of social innovation, social impact, and solving big problems but we don’t necessarily have the resources to say who’s doing what, what’s working, and what doesn’t work. Sometimes there’s not research that tells us what works but stories can tell [or show] us what works and what doesn’t work.”
Lauren Thomas was introduced to SolutionsU through her job as the events coordinator for the Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance.
“SolutionsU came to her campus in the fall of 2017 to deliver a series of workshops on the then brand new online teaching and learning platform. During the workshop, she says, participants learned about the mission and purpose of the Solutions Journalism Network and SolutionsU, and then the students broke into groups, each with a different story to read and discuss.
When the Ballard Center asked Lauren to create a workshop series for humanities students on how to leverage their knowledge and skills into a career in social change, she says she realized she could utilize and re-engineer much of the content from the SolutionsU workshop.
She took the topics each of these students were working on -- “solar panels in Ghana” and a “food waste enterprise” are two examples -- and plugged them into the SolutionsU database. Dozens of stories popped up in each field and on the night of the workshop, she used these stories for the small group discussion. Following the SolutionsU workshop format, she says she divided the 50 plus students into small groups, and then asked the participants to read the stories to discern “the whole picture: the problem, the outputs and impacts,” and transform these insights into actionable learning objectives. Lauren says the workshop was “wildly successful” in terms of the students’ engagement amongst themselves, and with the material throughout the workshop.
We invite you to use, adapt and share these resources in your teaching and research. All resources are licensed through this Creative Commons license unless otherwise noted. Please review the license and attribution guidelines and provide appropriate attribution when you find something you like!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more and join the SolutionsU™ educator community today!
Collections are versatile, powerful and simple to create. From a customized course reader to an action-guide for an upcoming service-learning trip, collections illuminate themes, guide inquiry, and provide context for how people around the world are responding to social challenges.
Name and describe your collection
Add external links at any time
Add to your collection over time and share!
Add stories to your collection from your list of Favorites below, or add stories directly to a collection from Search or Discover. Anytime you see the collection icon you can add a story. Just click the icon and follow the instructions on your screen.
This is a powerful feature to provide context and additional information to enhance your collection. Add a link to a relevant website, and a short description about how the resource relates to your collection.
Weekly email with three solutions stories illustrating responses that work, pivoting off the latest news moments.
Our issue area taxonomy was adapted from the PCS Taxonomy with definitions by the Foundation Center, which is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 4.0 International License.
Photos are licensed under Attribution Non Commercial 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license / Desaturated from original, and are credited to the following photographers:
Fondriest Environmental, David De Wit / Community Eye Health, Linda Steil / Herald Post, John Amis / UGA College of Ag & Environmental Sciences – OCCS, Andy B, Peter Garnhum, Thomas Hawk, 7ty9, Isriya Paireepairit, David Berger, UnLtd The Foundation For Social Entrepreneurs, Michael Dunne, Burak Kebapci, and Forrest Berkshire / U.S. Army Cadet Command public affairs
Photos are licensed under Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license, and are credited to the following photographers:
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Conference attendee listening to speaker, Jenifer Daniels / Colorstock getcolorstock.com.
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Photo Credit: Sonia Narang